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Last updateThu, 14 Oct 2021 10am

Dragons back on ice Saturday

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The AJHL announced the season will resume, and the Dragons will be back on the ice this Saturday to take on the Okotoks Oilers.
The league announced new two-team cohort groups and game schedule for the next two weeks of competition under the AJHL Return to Play Plan. The Dragons will be hosting the Oilers on April 24, and then hit the road to face them on Sunday afternoon in Okotoks.
“We got eight games under our belt and we are looking to get to 10 through the end of April,” said Dragons coach Kevin Hasselberg. “There is potential for us to play for another four weeks after these two weeks, but that remains to be determined by Mr. COVID.”
He says the players are grateful to get a chance to play, even under these conditions.
“When something strips you from the opportunity to play the game, like this, it is really hard on the guys, the staff, and the people who are invested in the games,” he said. “I guess more than anything you are grateful and appreciate the things that are provided to you and you get an understanding of how quickly they can be taken away.”
Throughout the first eight games this spring the Dragons are playing .500 hockey and seeing progress.
“The fact we are a week away from playing two more games is pretty exciting for the guys… but we have to prepare one day at a time,” he said.
For senior players, the challenge also comes when planning the next step of their career.
“The challenges that existed before were at one level, and now the NCAA has made eligibility rule changes and giving the opportunity for seniors to come back for a fifth-year who would have lost that year of eligibility and the opportunity to play,” he said. ‘It is just a trickle-down effect from top to bottom and everyone has to absorb a little bit.”
“They have to really push themselves right now to give themselves a chance.”
He adds beyond the NCAA there are many opportunities for players.
“There are other options and certainly we have had a lot of players who have had success at the ACAC level and the university sport level throughout Canada. I think the opportunity to walk away with an education is really at the forefront, and when players look back at it they will be thankful to have those opportunities,” said Hasselberg.
With two games slated this week, Hasselberg feels they are lucky to have the opportunity.
“The sacrifices everyone has made, it is truly amazing for us to play. We have a ton of people to thank for this opportunity. We certainly don’t want to overlook the challenges people have faced through the pandemic,” he said. ‘We are just very thankful we get to play the game and will take whatever is given.”


Dragons top Grizzlys, drop to Kodiaks

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The Drumheller Dragons split last weekend with a win over Olds on the road but fell to Camrose at home.
The Dragons were in Olds to take on the Grizzlys on Friday, April 2. The Grizzlys were on the defensive right away after a tripping penalty. Defenseman Cyle Clayton scored his first as a Dragon on the powerplay, assisted by Carter Belitski and Kasey Hiemstra. Less than 10 minutes later Aiden Yakimchuk scored unassisted.
The Grizzlys tied it up with two powerplay goals; one late in the first period, and one early in the second period Zach Burns regained the lead for the Dragons with 4:07 left in the second on the powerplay, assisted by Tyson Gross and Aiden Yakimchuk.
In the third period, Adam Raesler put the Dragons up 4-2 assisted by Sam Simard and Burns. The Grizzlys answered back with two minutes left but it was too little too late as the Dragons won 4-3.
It appears a rivalry is growing between the Dragons and the Camrose Kodiaks, and while the Dragons outshot the Kodiaks 40-30 on Saturday, April 3 at home, penalties played a big role in the outcome of the game.
After a scoreless first period, five minutes into the second, Luke Fennig scored shorthanded, assisted by Grayson Dietrich and Kiano Robinson, to tie the game. A tripping penalty by Kent Anderson led to the Kodiaks taking the lead on a powerplay goal, but then Burns tied it up again a minute later. At the 17:31 mark of the second Hiemstra was issued a kneeing penalty and a 10-minute game misconduct. The Kodiaks capitalized with a goal to end the second period, and another early in the third period to go up 4-2. The Dragons dominated play in the third period, but a tricky bounce led to the Kodiaks going up 5-2, and then an empty netter sealed their fate.
At this point, the AJHL has not announced whether there will be more play this season. Currently, the Dragons are in fourth place in the Viterra AJHL South division.

Dragons on three game winning streak

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With two victories last weekend, the Dragons are on a three-game winning streak through the second weekend of the new season.
The Dragons were in Olds on Saturday, March 20, to take on the Grizzlys, and put on a scoring clinic.
Luke Fennig opened the scoring unassisted at the 8:39 mark. This was followed up by Aiden Yakimchuk two minutes later, on the powerplay.
In the second period, the Dragons picked up where they left off with Kent Anderson scoring at 5:24, and then Hayden Prosofsky 10 minutes later. Mack Stewart scored his first as a Dragon in the third period to cap the Dragons 5-0 victory. Ryley Osland had the shutout, stopping 28 shots.
On Sunday evening, the Dragons were back home to take on the Camrose Kodiaks. The Kodiaks scored a minute into the game, but Grayson Dietrich tied it up five and half minutes later, to end the first period tied at one. The Kodiaks took the lead early in the second period, but Carter Belitski tied it back up, and with less than a minute left, Miles Hilman scored to give the Dragons the lead.
The Kodiaks wouldn’t relent and scored early in the third period. Stewart found the net again for the winner at the 4:20 mark. The Kodiak didn’t give up and pulled their goalie with two minutes to go. After a flurry of chances, Hilman hit the empty net for the 5-3 win. Garrett Fuller stopped 26 shots in the win.
This Friday, March 26, the Dragons host the Grizzlys, and then on Sunday head to Camrose to play the Kodiaks.


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