Drumheller Dragons | DrumhellerMail - Page #55
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Last updateFri, 12 Jul 2024 11pm

Dragons take on new leadership

    There was a big shake-up in the Dragons office this week as Dan Price exited the organization, and a new head coach and general manager was appointed.
    On Sunday afternoon, the Dragons announced that Price had been released from his position with the hockey club after two and a half years.
 “His work ethic and professionalism is unmatched, and Dan was able to make huge strides for our program in so many ways, as an organization we will be very challenged to maintain the standards he set,” said Dragons Vice-President Rod Knelsen of Price.
    “We weren’t having the success we were hoping for and felt it was time to right the ship and get a new voice and see if we can turn it around.”
    On Monday afternoon, the Dragons made a second announcement. They have brought in Barry Wolff as head coach and general manager.
    Wolff has 16 years of coaching experience, most recently as assistant coach for Team Canada West at the World Junior A Challenge. He has also served as associate head coach and assistant general manager with the Langley Chiefs for the last five years. During this time, the Chiefs won the Coastal Conference Pennant once and were Coastal Conference finalists once.
    “We’re excited to welcome Barry to the Drumheller Dragons; he brings with him a wealth of experience and a record of proven success at the Junior A hockey level,” said Knelsen.    
    Some of Barry’s coaching accomplishments include being a finalist for the 2003-2004 NAHL Coach of the Year award, winning the 2002 Gold Cup Bronze Medal, and winning the BCHL Coach of the Year award for the 1997-1998 season.
    “He’s been around a long time. Obviously he is more familiar with the BC Junior hockey leagues, being there for so long,” said Knelsen. “For the group of guys we have here, it’s a good thing. He will be a good fit for what we are needing at this point.”
    Moving forward, Knelsen said they want to improve the depth of the team skill wise.
    “Our recruiting has to be stronger to attract top end players to Drumheller. That’s how you build a wining team,” said Knelsen.
    Wolff was on the ice with the Dragons on Monday afternoon for his first practice with the squad.


Dragons flame burning low after ninth straight loss

    The Drumheller Dragons are recuperating after several losses in Spruce Grove on Friday, October 21, at home on Saturday, October 22, and in Hanna on Tuesday, October 25. Tuesday’s game brings the Dragons their ninth straight loss. The Dragons are currently in 14th place in the standings.
    The Dragons suffered a crushing defeat at the hands of the Spruce Grove Saints on Friday, losing 5-2. The Dragons were out-shot considerably, 54 shots by the Saints compared to 17 by the Dragons. “It wasn’t just being out-shot, it was how those shots were arriving at the net,” explained Dan Price, head coach of the Dragons.
    The Dragons goals were scored by Dylan Schellenberg, with Trevor Tracey assisting, at 3:59 in the second period and Doug Jones, with assistance from Trevor Tracey and Keith Csizmadia, on the power play at 10:21 in the second period.
    The Saints game was the second game since Braden Gamble returned to the Dragons in net. Gamble saved 49 shots, a herculean effort for any goalie.
    “Braden is playing very well, he’s making quality saves, and the goals haven’t been his fault,” said Price. “It’s a matter of us playing better team defence.”
    Shots on goal dramatically increased when the Dragons played the Mustangs, with the Dragons out shooting the Mustangs 43-36. Unfortunately the willingness of the Dragons to send the puck at the net did not translate into more goals.
    “There were a lot of times we were around the net, but not in front of their goalie,” said Price. “He saw most of the shots he faced that night and we have to change that.”
    “We have to make him feel uncomfortable and crowded,” continued Price. “If we do that, more pucks will start going in and we’ll get leads earlier.”
    The Dragons again scored two goals. Mitch Owsley, with help from Trevor Tracey and Sam Lawson, scored the first at 17:47 in the first period.
    The second goal was scored at 17:54 in the third by Keith Csizmadia during a dramatic penalty shot after he was brought down on a breakaway.
    The third game was at the Dragons home away from home, Hanna, against the Olds Grizzlys.
    “We have a lot of supporters in Hanna,” said Price. “It’s an important part of the Drumheller Dragons organization and we hope to put on a good show.”
    The Dragons fared a little better against the Grizzlys, losing 5-3. The shots were lopsided, with the Dragons being out shot 45-24.
    Trevor Tracey, with help from Riley Spraggs, opened the Dragons scoring in the second period. An unassisted effort from Logan Sceviour and a late power play goal by Keith Csizmadia, with assistance from Julian Fraser, brought the Dragons total to three goals.
    Penalties took their toll in all three games. The Dragons had eight penalties on Friday, for a total of 19 minutes in the box, seven on Saturday, for 17 minutes, and 14 on Tuesday, for a colossal 55 minutes.
    The Saints had a total of three penalties, and the Mus-
tangs, when not counting the undisciplined behaviour of Aaron Archer of the Mustangs, took fewer penalties as well. Three of the Saints goals and one of the Mustangs were during power plays.
    The Grizzlys game was heated. Both teams incurred multiple fighting and game misconduct penalties.
    “The main difference has been that we’ve been giving up more power plays than we’ve been taking,” said Price. “We’ve been putting ourselves in short handed situations and that obviously tilts things heavily in the other team's favour.
     “A big goal of ours to go forward over the next few games, and the rest of the season, is to make sure we’re much more disciplined and on the power play much more than our opponents are,” added Price.
    The Dragons had two days to regroup before heading to Brooks to face the first place Bandits.
    There are a few areas the Dragons hope to improve upon. With more discipline, obstructing the other goalies sight, and clearing away obstructions and rebounds around Gamble, the Dragons aim to break free of their losing streak.

Dragons limp through road trip

    It was a tough weekend for the Drumheller Dragons, who dropped two on the road.
    That is not as many as the players that have been dropping. Last weekend the Dragons had a slew of players not on the ice, where they were downed 4-0 by the Bonnyville Pontiacs and then 8-1 by Fort McMurray.
    “The best thing about the weekend is the guys competed very hard,” said Coach Dan Price.
    He said the high rate of players in the stands is no excuse for the team’s performance.
    “No one on the team, players or coaches, is making excuses. We are expected to win with whatever we have,” said Price. “The point is there were a lot of minutes for a lot of players that are new to the league, and based on realistic expectation for these players, we thought they competed really hard and we thought we were in the position to win both games.”
    Price says the team is hopeful that Kenton Levesque, Doug Jones  and Brennan Baxandall  will be back in the line up this Friday versus Spruce Grove. Davin Stenner should be ready to play Olds in Hanna next week. Jeffrey Noble is day to day and Josh Kluck is questionable. Sam Lawson is on a two game suspension and Kevin McMillan is expected to be out for two weeks.
    “That is eight guys, eight pretty important players on the shelf,” said Price.
    The injuries may help the team develop some of its younger players, getting them minutes early in the season, and in their career.
    “There is a balance we are trying to strike. We want to make sure that no one accepts losing. No matter who is in the line up it is our expectation to win,” said Price. “Having said that, with many of these young guys playing all these minutes, many of them would be in and out of the line up, or playing more reduced, controlled minutes. Instead with all the injuries, some of these guys are playing 20 minutes a game, which is just fantastic for their development. These are minutes we want them to play in the future.”
    “It has been a baptism by fire, but it will work out really well in the long run.”
    The Dragons hosted Brooks last night  (results not available at press time). On Friday they will be in Spruce Grove, and then home Saturday to play the Calgary Mustangs.

Veteran back at back
The Dragons learned this week that Braden Gamble is returning to the Drumheller Dragons after two years in the WHL.  The net minder played for the Dragons before heading off to play for Chilliwack and then Victoria. He was released, and on Sunday night, he returned to Drumheller.
    “He is a tremendous competitor, he is very athletic and competitive in the net. He is a big body as well, and very skilled,” said Price. “Being 20, with two years of WHL experience it will bring a veteran presence back there, and a lot of leadership in the dressing room. He is a really humble, respectful and mature player.”


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