Drumheller Dragons | DrumhellerMail - Page #34
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Illness strikes Dragons locker room

    So far, 2013 has not been kind to the Drumheller Dragons. Since returning to from the holidays last week, the team has seen action in three games, none of which they won.
    The Dragons continued their road trip in Bonnyville to face the Pontiacs. At their previous meeting, the Dragons broke the Pontiacs, but on Friday the Pontiacs ran wild over a weakened Dragon squad, winning 3-0.
    However, the Pontiacs had a little help.
    “Unfortunately for us, we had several players who caught this flu bug going around. They ended up playing, but had very little energy over the last two games. We had three or four players playing at about 50 per cent, which didn’t help us very much,” said Brian Curran, head coach and general manager of the Dragons.
    Late into the first period, the Pontiacs took a two goal lead and added a third in the opening seconds of the third when the Dragons were shorthanded following a cross-checking penalty by Mitchell Gartner.
    The following night, the Dragons were on the road again, this time against the Lloydminster Bobcats.
    Unlike the previous evening, the Dragons offence was working again, but the defence had difficulty holding back the Bobcats. In the end, the Dragons lost 6-3.
    The Bobcats took the lead early, but by the end of the first period, Bryton Mills, with assists from Brennan Baxandall and Mitchell Gartner, tied the game up.
    However, the second period proved disastrous for the Dragons and the Bobcats racked up two more goals for a 3-1 lead.
    A tripping penalty by Brad Deagle left the Dragons shorthanded, which resulted in a powerplay goal for the Bobcats. While shorthand again, Mills, off of Baxandall, gave the Dragons their second goal soon after.
    Before the game was done, Baxandall gave the Dragons another goal, but it was not enough to bring down the Bobcats, who scored twice more before the game was out.
    “We definitely outplayed them in the first period. Then, they scored that second goal and it deflated us for awhile. We didn’t play well until the last six minutes of that period. We got momentum back in the third,” said Curran. “We could have played much better. We’re not doing some of the things we were doing well before the break. We’re aware of them, but at the end of the day we will correct them.”
    The Dragons will be looking for their first win of 2013 tonight at home against the Okotoks Oilers at 7:30 p.m.
    The team battles to recover.
    “It was bad timing. They are still sick, unfortunately,” said Curran. “I don’t like to use it as an excuse, but we had some players whose energy levels weren’t there. Other players played really hard, but we didn’t do what we needed to come out with some wins. We’ve got to find ways to win and play some smarter hockey.”


Dragons bounce back after tumultuous season start

    It’s been a rollercoaster season for the Drumheller Dragons so far. The team has gone through difficult lows to roaring highs over the past four months.
    It’s a season of change for the team after posting 17 wins and 43 losses in the 2011-2012 season. Compared to last year, this iteration of the Dragons is markedly different.
    Things were looking promising after the Dragons posted an impressive preseason, winning the majority of their games.
    Then the regular season began and things started to look grim for the team. By the end of October, the team had gone through a nine game losing streak and had won only seven of 18 games.
    For awhile, the Dragons were occupying the last spot in the standings of the AJHL southern division.
    Then, in November, things began to turn around for the team. Starting November 11, the wins started to pour in and they went on a rampage with an eight game winning streak.
    “It’s been quite the run over the past couple months. We had a rough patch, but we rebounded well,” said head coach and general manager Brian Curran. “We had to [rebound] or we’d be in a lot of trouble.”
    Over November and December, the Dragons won 12 of their 19 games and headed into Christmas with a record of 19 wins, 15 losses, and 4 over time losses. During that time, the Dragons were seeing greater performances out of its goaltenders and a power play that was red hot.
    The success of the past two months has also propelled the team from last place in the AJHL southern division to fourth, which will grant them a playoff position.
    Aside from success of the season so far, this year saw many changes to the staff and players on the team.
    In March, Brian Curran, who had coached the Brooks Bandits in 2008-2009 and the Lloydminster Bobcats for the previous two seasons, signed a five year contract with the Dragons. From there, the coaching staff was completely transformed.
    The team hosted two training camps over the spring and summer and began working to put together a winning team. Between the camps and trades made throughout the season, only four Dragons from last year are currently on the active roster.
    The Dragons return to play at home on January 9 at 7:30 p.m.

Deja vu strikes Dragons in second shootout loss

    They say history is doomed to repeat itself.
    The Dragons found that out the hard way when they returned to action Wednesday night in Fort McMurray, after taking some time off for the holidays, in a rematch against the Oil Barons. The Dragons came away with a 2-1 shootout loss.
    The two teams met prior to the holidays, on December 20, with the Dragons being dealt a 1-0 shootout loss.
    Like their previous meeting, Wednesday’s game started with both teams locked in a stalemate. After the first period, neither team could get past the high caliber performances of both goalies.
    Tempers exploded 13 minutes into the second period after Matt Purmal of the Oil Barons was called for checking from behind. Hunter Mills and Adam Danyluk of the Dragons, and two Oil Barons were handed penalties for fighting and slapped for misconduct.
    It might have been the spark that was needed, because only seconds later, Tyler Kerner, off of Christopher Rauckman and Dakota Zaharichuk, scored the Dragons’ only goal of the night and put them ahead 1-0.
    The Dragons held on to their lead until Mitchell Cook was called for checking from behind and given a game misconduct. The penalty put the Dragons into a short handed situation with only 11 minutes left in the game.
    The Oil Barons pounced on the opportunity. Forty seconds into the penalty kill, the Oil Barons finally broke through the Dragons’ defence and the solid goaltending of Adam Beukeboom. The goal tied the game up at one apiece.
    From there, neither team could take the upper hand and the game went into a scoreless overtime. Like their last meeting, only a shootout could declare the victor.
    The Dragons sent out Colton Vannucci, Ryan Bloom, and Christopher Rauckman. None could penetrate the Oil Barons’ net.
    Beukeboom stone-walled the first two shooters, but the final shooter broke through, giving the Oil Barons the victory.
    The Dragons still earned a point from the game and are currently tied with the Okotoks Oilers at 42 apiece.
    The team will be looking to break away from the Oilers over the weekend when they take on the Bonnyville Pontiacs tonight and the Lloydminster Bobcats tomorrow evening. They then will return home on Wednesday, January 9, to host the rival Oilers.


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