Drumheller Dragons | DrumhellerMail - Page #26
Last updateFri, 12 Jul 2024 11pm

NHL legends shine bright at Evening With the Stars

    The banquet hall at the Badlands Community Facility was packed on Friday night as some of the NHL’s  most decorated alumni were in town for the Drumheller Dragons Evening With the Stars.
    Fans had the chance to mingle with and take their picture with legends Marty McSorley, Claude Lemieux, and Brian Trottier, and announcer Jim Ralph.

Marty McSorley (left), Claude Lemieux, Dragons defenceman Cody Fiala, Brian Trottier, and Jim Ralph at the Dragons Evening With the Stars on Friday, September 20. The NHL legends regaled hockey fans with stories, posed for photos, and took some time during the day to help impart some advice on the Dragons players.

    The Dragons players were awestruck, having the chance to meet and learn from the trio of NHL alumni.
    “It’s a pretty cool experience. We can learn a lot from them. To see them face to face is pretty amazing,” said Dragons forward Hunter Mills.
    Prior to the evening, McSorley, Lemieux, and Trottier had a chance to hang out with the Dragons during practice and impart some words of wisdom.
    “I’ve been in a lot of buildings, so when I walked into the rink tonight, I went into the middle of the ice and looked around to get a feel for what it is like when the building is full of people and the kids are out playing hockey,” said McSorley.
    “My message to them was to be good professional, and by that I mean be prepared and make sure your teammates can count on you. Seize the moment and use every moment to improve and prepare, and know that you’ve given it your best, so, at the end of the day, you can be proud of what you accomplished.”
    Lemieux had a similar experience when he was younger and understands the importance of visiting up and coming players.
    “I grew up in a small town myself and I remember some former Montreal Canadians visiting coming to our youth tournament. It was a really big deal and I think it’s great we can give back and do the same now,” said Lemieux.
    The lessons were taken to heart by the Dragons.
    “You need to work hard to go places, you can’t take anything lightly, and practice, practice, practice,” said Mills when asked what he remembered most.
    Newcomers Alex Elliot and Cody Fiala  were similarly impressed.
    “Marty said seize the day, take an opportunity,” said Elliot.
    “Be a professional on and off the ice, know who you are playing against, know their stats, and everything else before you play,” said Fiala.
    For McSorley and Lemieux, this was their first visit to Drumheller.
    “It’s my first visit to Drumheller and I really found it wild. You do a little research and find out about the historical factor, like with the (Tyrrell) Museum. I talked to my kids and they were all fired up,” said McSorley.
    Trottier had passed through many years ago and was glad to come back to inspire the Dragons.
    “We’ve been in their shoes and know what an important step it is in their careers. It’s also a fun time for the community,” said Trottier. “Hopefully it’ll fire up the kids a little bit. There were a couple things we told them. We know they’re young athletes and they want to learn and advance.”
    For the Dragons organization, the evening was a huge success. Plans are already being made for next year.
    “We had huge community support and we’re absolutely thrilled with how everything worked out. We had more people in attendance ticket wise over last year,” said Pam Hartman, sales and marketing manager for the Dragons. “We are thrilled we can offer something like this to Drumheller. We’re looking forward to next year.”

Dragons fall further behind after weekend games

    It was another tough weekend for the Drumheller Dragons.
    In back-to-back games on Saturday and Sunday, the Dragons lost 8-5 to the Calgarys Mustangs and a nail-biting 2-1 in a shootout to the Brooks Bandits.
    It didn’t take long for the scoring to start on Saturday, when the Dragons hosted the Mustangs. The Dragons opened the game looking strong, but soon were pinned down in their own end struggling to clear the puck.
    The Mustangs kept up the pressure and, at 8:35 into the first, scored on Steven Glass who started in goal for the Dragons.
    The Dragons mounted an offensive of their own and scored just under a minute later. Dallas Smith passed out front from behind the Mustangs net to a waiting Colton Vannucci.
    The game was tied only briefly. The Mustangs came back hard and scored three more goals in the first, the fourth of which was a careless pass by Curtis Skip to a waiting Mustang.
    In the second, the Mustangs scored two more early goals to make it 6-1.
    Joey Raats, off of Ethan James and Brody Valette, would take advantage of a powerplay at 12:36 into the second to make it 6-2.
    The third was back and forth as the Dragons regained some momentum. The Mustangs would score twice more, while the Dragons put three goals away, two of which were on the powerplay, to make the final score 8-5.
    The following afternoon, the Dragons hosted the ever deadly Bandits.
    The Dragons fought hard against the reigning AJHL champions and took a 1-0 lead late in the first. The Dragons held off the Bandits until Cody Fiala took a 2 minute boarding penalty, which gave the Bandits a man advantage. The Bandits struck and tied the game 1-1.
    For the remaining regulation time, the two teams fought back and forth, but neither could gain an edge. The game went to overtime, but the stalemate continued.
    The game was finally decided in a shootout. Brandon Lee scored on the Bandits second shot, but the Dragons shooters couldn’t retaliate. The Bandits took a narrow 2-1 win.
    The Dragons were in action last night against the Mustangs, but the results were not available as of press time.
    The two losses leave the Dragons with a 2-3-1 record and in fifth place of the AJHL Southern Division behind the Okotoks Oilers.
    The Dragons head to Spruce Grove this weekend to play in the AJHL Showcase. The Dragons play on Friday against the Grande Prairie Storm and the Sherwood Park Crusaders the next day. The Dragons next home game is on October 4 against the Spruce Grove Saints.

Colton Vannucci (centre) crashes the net in the Drumheller Dragons 8-5 loss to the Calgary Mustangs on Saturday, September 21. The Dragons had another tough weekend, losing to both the Mustangs and the Brook Bandits. The Dragons will be looking to get back on a winning track this weekend during the AJHL showcase.

Dragons lose back-to-back games over weekend

    It was a tough weekend for the Drumheller Dragons. After getting a 2-0 start in the regular season two weeks ago, the Dragons were dealt two losses to bring them to a 2-2 record.

Drumheller Dragons rookie Alex Elliot, #41, attempts to slip past the defence of the Camrose Kodiaks on Saturday’s home opener. The Dragons, after going 2-0 the previous weekend, lost back-to-back against the Brooks Bandits on Friday and the Kodiaks the following evening. The Dragons are at home again this weekend.

    On Friday, September 13, the Dragons were in Brooks where they lost 5-1 to the reigning AJHL champions, the Bandits.
    Less than a minute into the game, the Bandits got on the scoreboard and had a 1-0 lead over the Dragons. The Bandits would make it 2-0 with a power play goal with 13 seconds left in the first.
    The second period began with the Bandits firmly in control, scoring two goals, but the Dragons, thanks to Jesse Zaharichuk, were able to get on their skates and score a powerplay goal at 14:37 to make it 4-1. The Bandits scored their fifth and final goal halfway through the third.
    Despite the loss, head coach and general manager Brian Curran felt the score did not reflect how well the Dragons played.
    “I thought in the Brooks game we played a very good first period, but unfortunately we ended up being down 2-0. I thought the work ethic was there. At times we played very well. They deserved the win, but the score was not indicative of how we played,” said Curran.
    The following night, the Dragons were back in front of a packed Drumheller Memorial Arena for their home opener against the Camrose Kodiaks.
    The Kodiaks came out strong and defeated the Dragons 6-3.
    The Dragons appeared nervous on the ice.    
    “It was a real tough game. We down played it (the home opener) big time to the boys, so they wouldn’t get too nervous. Unfortunately when they started you could see they were pretty nervous,” said Curran.
    The Kodiaks built momentum early and scored a huge  morale boosting first goal while shorthanded. They followed up with two more goals in the first.
    Joey Ratts, off of Dakota Zaharichuk and Dallas Smith, scored for the Dragons before the period was out to make it 3-1 by the first intermission.
    Christopher Rauckman, with help from Mitchell Cook and Curtis Skip brought the score to 3-2 early in the second, but the Kodiaks regained their two goal lead soon after.
    By the third period, the Dragons were down 4-2.
     The Kodiaks took advantage of a powerplay opportunity mid way through the third and scored at even strength a few minutes later to make it 6-2. Hunter Mills, off a pass from Tyler Kerner, scored with just over three minutes in the period, making the final score 6-3.
    “There were some positive things in the game, but they (Camrose) were able to capitalize on the negatives,” said Curran.
    “We’re a young team, but we need to get better performances from our leaders and older players. Some played very well and others were average. We can’t afford average. If this were happening a month from now, we would have some serious problems.”
    The Dragons return to action this weekend at home. On Saturday, starting at 7 p.m., they host the Calgary Mustangs. Then, on Sunday at 1 p.m., they host the Bandits.
    “We’ll go out and have some good practices this week and I know we’ll be a different team come Saturday,” said Curran.

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