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Last updateFri, 15 Feb 2019 11am

Drumheller Dragons showing improvement

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    The Drumheller Dragons are showing continuous improvement after a strong week where they earned three out of a possible six points.
     The Dragons were at home on Tuesday, January 16 to host the Camrose Kodiaks.  After a scoreless first period, Nate Keeley put the Dragons on the board. Camrose answered back however with two quick goals to end the second period up 2-1.  The Dragons’ Ryan McBeath scored his first as a Dragon just 2:47 into the third period to tie the game. Drumheller kept the pressure up, outshooting Camrose 10-7, but the game went to overtime and then a shootout. It took nine shooters before Camrose took the win.
    “We liked the effort and probably deserved a better result,” said Coach Kevin Hasselberg.
    On Friday, January 19, the Dragons travelled to Olds to take on the Grizzlys, and it didn’t take them long to flex their muscles. The Dragons jumped out to 3-0 with two goals from Alex Rotundo and one from Tyson Scott. The Grizzlys made it onto the scoreboard seven minutes into the second, but the Dragons’ barrage continued with Brett Edwards, McBeath, and Derrick Budz all scoring in the second.
     Rotundo finished his hat trick at the 11:19 mark of the third period to go up 7-1. Olds added two more goals but it was too little too late.
    “I really liked our game against Olds, they are struggling and I think our guys played with confidence and just had fun,” said Hasselberg.         “They were moving the puck and were ahead of their game and pucks were going in the net for us. The players had a whole new sense of enthusiasm which was really good to see.”
    The Dragons finished off the weekend on Saturday night with a trip to Okotoks to take on the league-leading Oilers. This time Oilers didn’t waste any time and went up 4-0 in the first period. Andrew Kartusch scored the lone goal in the second period unassisted. In the third, the Oilers scored two to the single powerplay goal from Jordan Taupert as the Oilers went onto a 6-2 win.
    “Our guys came out really good and had that same sense of urgency and enthusiasm (as in Olds),” said Hasselberg.
    “Playing against the Oilers, they can score quickly on you and they got a couple goals on us, and at that point, we were chasing the game, things tightened up again. Obviously, it is a little harder on the guys’ mentality to pull through in situations like that, but there was still a lot go good things in that game.
    This Saturday the Dragons host the Calgary Mustangs, and they return the favour on Sunday.


Dragons make moves

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    The Drumheller Dragons has been shuffling the deck at the trade deadline.
    As per Hockey Canada, the trade deadline this season was January 10 and the Dragons have made a couple moves.
 On January 1, the Dragons picked up 19-year-old Josh Laferriere from the Nipawin Hawks.  He is a 6’ 3”  defenseman, originally from Wainwright, Alberta. In the 2017/2018 season with the Hawks, he had one goal and five assists, with 27 PIM.
    “Josh has all the abilities to help the Dragons in the back half of the season. He is a dependable defense-first player that can move pucks, kill penalties, and play physically. He is a tremendous young man that will be a great addition in the Drumheller community.”
    The acquisition of Laferriere completes a transaction initiated in October when the team sent defenseman  Gage Misskey to the Hawks.
 On January 3, the Dragons moved Joren Patenaude, 19, to the Drayton Valley Thunder for a player development fee.
    This was Patenaude’s second season with the Dragons, and in his 2016 - 2017 season, he tallied 30 points in 46 games.         This year he amassed 10 goals and eight assists in 31 games.

The Dragons also traded second-year Dragon Blake Kleiner to the Kindersley Klippers for a player development fee.

Drumheller Dragons fight through adversity

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    After a strong start, the Drumheller Dragons have faced adversity, but for a developing team, coaches are confident they haven’t played their best hockey yet.
    The Dragons ended the week and the natural first half of the season before the Christmas break with a win and two losses.
    On Friday, December 15, the Dragons hosted the Sherwood Park Crusaders and Jordan Taupert opened the scoring just 23 seconds in. Goals followed from Joren Patenaude and Brayden Nicholetts, and the Dragons were up 3-0 after the first period. The Crusaders scored one to end the second period 3-1, Dragons.
    In the third period, three quick powerplay goals starting at the midpoint sealed the Dragons’ fate. After an empty net goal with 16 seconds left the Crusaders went on to a 5-3 win.
    On Saturday, December 16, the Dragons had a chance to redeem themselves versus the Grande Prairie Storm. The Dragons went up 2-0 in the first with goals from Nate Keeley and Troy Dudley.
    In the second, Kaden Hanas scored his fifth and sixth goal as a Dragon to put them up 4-0. Two quick goals put the Storm back in the game. Derek Buds scored shorthanded, but Grande Prairie came back on the powerplay to end the period 5-3 Dragons.
    In the third period, the Storm and the Dragons traded goals, as Alex Rotundo and Markus Boguslavsky kept it out of reach. Dragons win 7-5.
    On Tuesday, December 19, the Dragons were in Canmore, and the Eagles jumped ahead by two goals before Tyler Kreklewich scored in the first, ending the period down 2-1. The Eagles opened the second with two more quick short-handed goals before Brett Edwards and Nicholetts scored. The Eagles kept the separation, however, ending the second 5-3.
    The Dragons pulled to within striking distance with a goal from Andrew Kartusch, but the Eagles sealed it with another goal, maintaining the final 6-4.
    Despite this, the Dragons remain in the third spot in the AJHL Viterra South.
    “I think we have a great group, but I don’t think we have played our best hockey consistently, so I think there is a lot of room for improvement in our game,” said head coach Kevin Hasselberg.” I am fairly confident our players will get there, but it has been a challenge to get there and stay there consistently.”
    “I think a lot of our challenges are mental. When we go on the ice in practice with our team they work hard, and they are very good at what they do. It is just applying those same concepts when there is a little more pressure involved on the ice,” he said.
    Hasselberg is hopeful the team will show continual improvement.
    “We had a great start to the year and those points gave us a bit of a cushion to get us through the challenge we are going through now, and we have some work to do now. We are going to stay the course, we’ll keep working on those challenges and at the end of the day when February or March rolls around, that is when you want to be playing your best.”


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