Drumheller Dragons | DrumhellerMail - Page #14
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Dragons show improvement inhomestand

Patrick Kolafa
The Drumheller Mail

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The Drumheller Dragons had a strong weekend homestand, pushing the north division’s number one team to overtime, and then delivering a striking blow to Grande Prairie.
    The Dragons hosted the McMurray Oil Barons on Saturday night, October 15 in front of 593 fans. The Oil Barons are leading the north division and opened the scoring midway through the first period.
    Just 4:19 into the second period Joren Patenaude had a breakaway on the power play and tied the game at one. Just 13 seconds later, Brady Risk     scored putting the Dragons up 2-1. It was short lived as the Oil Barons tied it to end the period.
    Four minutes into the third period, the Oil Barons went ahead 3-2, but the Dragons rallied and Blake Kleiner tied the game with 10 minutes to go. The Dragons held on to force overtime.
    A poorly timed holding penalty two minutes into the 3 on 3 period, put the dragons on the defensive and the Oil Barons scored the winner.
    “It was a complete game, for 60 minutes, the kids battled,” said coach Brian Curran. “For about three of four minutes after they tied the game, they put on a lot of pressure, our goalie played really well.”
    The Oil Barons goalie also stood on his head to keep Fort McMurray in the game with two and half minutes left.
    “It was a spectacular save, a TSN highlight for sure,” laughs Curran.
    “In all, it was 57 minutes of playing hard against a very good hockey club,”
    The Dragons were back on the ice the next day, this time hosting the Grande Prairie Storm. Rather than being fatigued going into the second game in as many days the Dragons had the jump going up 2-0 in the first period with goals from Bradley Stonnell and Slater Dykema. Evan Rochowiak scored early in the second period before the Storm made it onto the board. Stonnell scored his second and Evan Tschumi put the Dragons up 5-1 to end the period and Patenaude scored in the late minutes of the third to end the game 6-1.
    The team is improving immensely from where we were on day one,” said Curran. “The thing is I am looking at the growth of this team. We are the youngest by age in the league, and when it is all said and done, that youth is starting to mature. There is going to be trials and tribulations by this team, but we are hoping that by Christmas time this team believes it can be a force. I don’t want to wait until Christmas time, but when you look at where we started, until the last two games, we are learning lessons very quickly.”
This weekend the Dragons head north to play Grande Prairie, Drayton Valley and then Whitecourt. They are back on home ice on October 28 to play the Camrose Kodiaks.

Dragons shine at Showcase Weekend


    The Dragons shone at the AJHL Showcase Weekend and came home with a win and a close loss after taking one of the top teams in the league to overtime.
    Over the weekend, all 16 AJHL teams were in Camrose for the AJHL showcase. This is an opportunity for scouts from all over North America to view the talent of AJHL players on the ice.
    “The Showcase Weekend is a very tough weekend and nerve-wracking,” said coach Brian Curran. “We won the first game, but I don’t think we played our best hockey by any means, we played nervous and were standing still a lot.”
    The Dragons had two games; the first on Thursday, September 29 when they took on the Drayton Valley Thunder. The Dragons jumped out just 1:25 into the first with a goal from Leif Mattson. In the second period, the Thunder came back and tied momentarily, until Blake Kleiner put Drumheller ahead 2-1.  Drayton Valley fired back tied it up again. It remained scoreless through the third period and then through overtime. Troy Dudley scored in the shootout to deliver the Dragons their second win of the season.
    The Dragons had a tough one on the horizon as they took on Saturday, October 1 the Fort McMurray Oil Barons, which are currently second in the North Division standings.
    Again, the Dragons struck first, and went up 1-0 after one period with a goal from Brady Risk. The Oil Barons dominated the second period with three straight goals and a two-goal lead. The Dragons came out inspired in the third and scored three quick goals from Chard Hurtubise, Nate Neely and Stefan Wood to take the lead. With 10 minutes left, the Oil Barons tied it on the power play to force overtime. In the extra period, the Oil Barons outshot the Dragons 4-0 but could not pull ahead, and the contest was decided in the shootout.
    “In the first and second period, I thought the guys played all but five or six minutes really well,” Coach Brian Curran said. “In the third period, we got into our own little groove. We were moving better and making plays, working our  tails off. We had 4-3 lead after being down 3-1. I thought we deserved a better fate but at the end of the day, I am proud of how hard they worked.”
    He thought it was good test for the team.
    “I was very curious with how we would do against them and I was very impressed. We are the second youngest team in the league and I think we really have to get moving from that game forward. “
    This week the schedule doesn’t get any easier. On Friday, October 7, they are hosting the Calgary Canucks who are leading the south.
    The Canucks are playing some of the best hockey around the league right now,” said Curran. “When we start believing in each other, we can believe we belong here. The quicker we do that, we are going to be a much better hockey team.”

Dragons split in first home stand

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    The Dragons earned their first win of the season, and they did it on home ice.
    The Dragons celebrated their home opener on Friday, September 23, taking on the Calgary Mustangs.
    After outshooting the Mustangs 14-3 in a scoreless first period, Bradley Stonnell found the net 3:42 into the second. Just 14 seconds later, Blake Kleiner put the Dragon up by 2. The Mustangs answered back, but Leif Mattson put the Dragons up 3-1. A minute later Jordan Taupert also found the net. The Mustangs scored one more to end the period, but it was too little too late as Drumheller won 4-2.
    Coach Brian Curran liked the effort.
    “I loved about 35 minutes of that game,” he said. “It was our home opener, we came out strong and the guys played together as a team. When we got up to our fourth goal, we got away from our team concept, and began playing more like individuals. That was hard, I didn’t enjoy that.”
    The next night the Dragons hosted the Whitecourt Wolverines, who were stung by the Brooks Bandits the night before.
    “Whitecourt is a much older team than we are, lots of veterans there,” said Curran.
    Outshooting the Dragons 14-3 in the first period, the Wolverines went up 1-0 on the powerplay. The Dragons evened it up in the second, when Slater Dykema scored, assisted by Taupert and Joren Patenaude.
    The Wolverines jumped ahead in the second with two goals, but with two minutes left, Dykema scored, ending the game 3-2 for Whitecourt.
    “They deserved the win there is no question about it, but I was very proud of our players, the way they competed all night,” said Curran.  “We know that we are going to get better. We know everyone is going to get better, but if we put that kind of commitment and work ethic into it, the way we battled, it shows we can compete with them.
    “At the end of the day if we keep getting that kind of effort, and we continue our growth and the path we are on, everyone is going to be seeing a different team in two months.”
    The Dragons are playing in a tournament weekend in Camrose where on Thursday, September 29, they play the Drayton Valley Thunder, and on Friday, play the Fort McMurray Oil Barons. They are back home on Friday, October 7 to play the Calgary Canucks.

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