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Last updateFri, 19 Oct 2018 4pm

Dragons advance to second round

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    The Drumheller Dragons have officially won their first playoff series against the Calgary Canucks.
    Versatility and control are what Dragons head coach Kevin Hasselberg attributes their success to.
    “Playoffs is all about controlling the rollercoaster ride and you don’t want to get on that ride and get too high or get too low,” said Hasselberg. “We’ve certainly been challenged with a lot of different scenarios in the first three games of the series and obviously Sunday night’s result is what we are very happy with and the effort that was brought forth by our players.”
    On Thursday, March 8, the opening match to the series took place at the Drumheller Memorial Arena where the Dragons won 6 – 3.
    The game started off with a bang as the Canucks scored 34 seconds in. Slater Dykema, assisted by Brett Edwards and Dawson Bruneski scored off the power play to quickly tie the game. Tyler Kreklewich was assisted by Alex Rotundo and Bradley Stonnell to claim another power play point shortly afterward.
    Goals were accompanied by a number of penalties for roughing, hooking, cross-checking, and slashing from either side in the first.
    Rotundo, assisted by Dykema scored the Dragons’ third goal nearly five minutes into the second period.
    The Canucks fought back by taking their second goal of the evening two minutes later.
    The third period is where the Dragons’ hard work paid off, putting the nail in the coffin.
    Kreklewich was rightfully named home star of the game for securing three goals, two of which were captured in the final period. Jordan Taupert also connected in the final period.
    Both teams had 35 shots on net but the Canucks had better outcomes on the power play as they scored 2 out of 4 whereas the Dragons scored 2 out of 5.
    Game 2 was held the next night on home ice and served as a humbling reminder of the unpredictability of hockey for the team.
    After a back and forth point game, the Dragons let a goal slide into the net in the final minute of the third period. They were not able to bounce back in time to tie up the game. The Dragons lost 2 – 3.
    Game 3 was held in Calgary at the Max Bell Centre on Sunday, March 11, where the Dragons learned from their mistakes, winning the game 8 – 1.
    “It’s a momentum ride as much as anything and I think our players found that gear you need to compete within the playoffs on Sunday,” said Hasselberg. “It was definitely a learning lesson from Game 2 to Game 3 and then get the results that we had in Game 3 was something that I know the players were excited about.”
    The Dragons scored three goals in the first period, one in the second, and then another four in the final period. Each period held at least six penalties between the two competitors.
    “They travel together through highs and lows and that’s going to be the strength the team has when faced with all the different kinds of balls that are thrown our way,” said Hasselberg. “I guess the one thing that drives this hockey team is how together they are. They’ve created a brotherhood that’s going to certainly help them advance in the playoffs as far as they can.”
    Game 4 was also held at the Max Bell Centre on Monday, March 12, where the Dragons came out on top winning 8 – 4.
Jordan Taupert assisted by Nate Keeley took the first goal of Period 1. Canucks scored an unassisted goal to tie the game.
    The second period was where the Dragons shined the brightest. They scored 5 consecutive shots which the Canucks responded by taking one point off the team shortly after their streak.
    Shot for shot action occurred in the third. The Canucks took the first and third goal of that period while the Dragons scored the second and fourth goals, totalling an accumulated final score of 8 – 4.
    The Dragons will be facing off against the Brooks Bandits for round 2 of the playoffs. The Best of 7 series will begin this Friday, March 16 at 7:00 p.m. in Brooks. Followed by another away game the next day. The team will be at home for the second half of the series on Monday, March 19 and Tuesday, March 20 at 7:00 p.m.


Dragons crush Canucks in first playoff game

Canucks goalie Kolby Matthews, 30, anticipates the incoming offence Drumheller Dragons defenseman Troy Dudley, 17, and forward Slater Dykema, 11. Calgary Canucks defenseman Brody Medeiros, 2, and centre player Zach Webb, 25, were hot on their trail to intercept the potential goal. The Dragons ultimately won the game 6 – 3. Mailphoto by Terri Huxley

The Drumheller Dragons have officially set the tone for the post season playoffs last night, Thursday, March 8, with a 6 – 3 win over the Calgary Canucks in front of an energetic crowd of 665 fans.
The game started off with a bang as the Canucks scored 34 seconds in. Slater Dykema, assisted by Brett Edwards and Dawson Bruneski scored off the power play to quickly tie the game. Tyler Kreklewich was assisted by Alex Rotundo and Bradley Stonnell to claim another power play point shortly afterwards.
Goals were accompanied by a number of penalties for roughing, hooking, cross checking, and slashing from either side in the first.
Rotundo, assisted by Dykema scored the Dragons third goal nearly five minutes into the second period.
The Canucks fought back by taking their second goal of the evening two minutes later.
Third period is where the Dragons’ hard work paid off, putting the nail in the coffin.
Kreklewich was rightfully named home star of the game for securing three goals, two of which were captured in the final period. Jordan Taupert also connected in the final period.
Both teams had 35 shots on net but the Canucks had better outcomes on the power plays as they scored 2 out of 4 whereas the Dragons scored 2 out of 5.
The Dragons play again tonight, March 9 at home for Game 2 of the 5 game series.

Photo Above: Canucks goalie Kolby Matthews, 30, anticipates the incoming offence Drumheller Dragons defenseman Troy Dudley, 17, and forward Slater Dykema, 11. Calgary Canucks defenseman Brody Medeiros, 2, and centre player Zach Webb, 25, were hot on their trail to intercept the potential goal. The Dragons ultimately won the game 6 – 3. Mailphoto by Terri Huxley

Dragons win final regular season game

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    The Drumheller Dragons were ready for action this past weekend.
    On Friday, March 2 in Calgary, the Dragons swept up 5 points winning the game 5 – 2 against the Calgary Canucks.
    “I think our team has been phenomenal for the month of February and obviously the first weekend in March,” said Kevin Hasselberg, head coach of the Drumheller Dragons. “We’ve grown as a team all season and you want to be playing your best hockey when the next season approaches and that’s the playoffs. I think our group has accomplished that. Now it’s just a matter of maintaining and getting to the playoffs.”
    The first period saw the most action as three of those points were put on the scoreboard. The Canucks claimed one point. Penalties were divided equally between Dragons player Brayden Nicholetts for slashing and Canucks player Jaxon Steele for tripping.
    Dragons put another point on the scoreboard at 4:16 due to Brett Edwards efforts in the second period. Brady Risk and Bradley Stonnell assisted. As for penalties, both sides had a single two-minute penalty for roughing after the whistle.
    Alex Rotundo assisted by Joshua Laferriere and Jordan Taupert scored the Dragons fifth and final goal at 5:26 of the third period. The Canucks then scored their second goal of the evening at 6:42.
    Overall, the Dragons had one powerplay and 23 shots on net while the Canucks had two power plays and 19 shots on net.
    The next day, Saturday, March 3, the Dragons were back at home to faceoff against the Brooks Bandits. The long-standing feud between the rivals was prevalent on the ice as soon as warm-up began.
    “Proximity played a big part in that with Brooks being arguably one of our closest opponents when you look at the roadmap but I think there is a lot of history there even from previous coaches,” said Hasselberg. “I think a lot of things have evolved over the years creating that rivalry and once it’s there it doesn’t go away easily. [...] I think the fans have really embraced that as well.”
    Classified as a staged fight, Nic Hamre, of the Brooks Bandits and Kaden Hanas, of the Dragons duked it out during the first period. Both face an automatic three-game suspension for their actions as part of Canadian Junior Hockey League (CJHL) regulations.
    “You have to walk that line and part of it is learning along the way but Kaden did what he had to do and what he felt was the right thing to do and it ended up being a momentum shifter for us as a hockey team,” said Hasselberg. “Unfortunately he has to suffer the consequences and our team has to suffer the consequences of not having him in the lineup but we will get through it and we are certainly proud of Kaden for his efforts.”
    Hasselberg credits the success to a positive frame of mind shared amongst the team.
    “I think our guys played as a team and they all shared a common vision and a common goal in that hockey game,” said Hasselberg. “You could tell from their body language to their competitiveness to the energy and enthusiasm on the bench that they wanted to be successful as a group and they stayed positive throughout the night regardless.”
    The Dragons were down two to one in the second period but that didn’t stop the local team from pushing harder.
    Tyler Kreklewich single-handedly scored Drumheller’s second point, creating a tie. Jordan Taupert assisted by Reese Jackson and Bradley Stonnell made the tiebreaker point. Neither side scored in the third period. The Brooks Bandits took 28 shots on net while the Dragons shot 29 on net.
     “[...] There was no panic on our bench,” said Hasselberg. “They rallied behind each other and scored the next two and obviously played extremely hard and that’s what we did to earn the win.”
    Billet families were recognized before the beginning of the game for their contribution throughout the season by hosting these men. 15 families host the 22 players from September until this April depending on how playoffs unfold.
    The Dragons host the Calgary Canucks for their first series of the postseason on Thursday, March 8. Five games with the best of three will determine who will move on to the next round of playoffs.


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