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Dragons prep for post season

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The Dragons are in the stages of preparation for the postseason as the play-in round continues.
The AJHL this season was dealt a shock with the defection of five teams to the BCHL. To move forward with the postseason, the AJHL redesigned its playoff format, with the top five teams earning a spot in the playoffs, while the remaining six playoff in individual five-game series. The winner of each series will fill out spots 6-8 to complete the bracket.
At the end of the regular season, the Whitecourt Wolverines captured the league championship. The Dragons battled to the end but landed in fifth place, four points behind the fourth-place Bonnyville Pontiacs.
The play-in round began on March 7. The Grande Prairie Storm is facing off against the Olds Grizzlys, the Canmore Eagles are taking on the Fort McMurray Oil Barons and the Camrose Kodiaks are taking on the Drayton Valley Thunder.
Round One of the Inter Pipeline Cup AJHL Playoffs will begin the weekend of March 15th-17th and will be a best-of-seven series, with the top seed playing the lowest remaining seed. This means the Dragons will be taking on the Pontiac in the first round. Games one and two will be held in Bonnyville on March 15 and March 16, respectively.
The Dragons will be back on home ice on Tuesday, March 19, at 7 p.m. for Game 3, and Wednesday, March 20, for Game 4.


Raptors fall in triple overtime heartbreaker

It was as close as it could possibly get as the Kneehill Chiefs and the Drumheller Raptors U18 battled it out for the league championship over the weekend.
The Drumheller React/ DT Fire Protection Raptors hosted game one of the two-game total points series at the Drumheller Memorial Arena on Friday, March 8. Hundreds came out to cheer on the Raptors as they jumped out to a a 1-0 lead in the first period. The Chiefs settled into their game and pushed hard in the second period, going up 3-1. Drumheller clawed back but couldn’t close the gap, falling 4-3. Gavin Olsen, Kerric Chambers and Ryder Hems tallied the goals for the Raptors.
This put the Raptors at a one-goal deficit going into Game 2 in Trochu on Sunday afternoon.
The Raptors went up by a goal again in the first period, but by the end of the third it was tied at three. The Raptors played hard and at the end of regulation time, were up 4-3. This means the two teams were tied at seven goals apiece. Chambers had two goals, and Kayden Bitz and Kegan Regis each contributed one.
Overtime ensues, in fact, triple overtime.
“We technically won 4-3 and tied it up for overtime,” said coach Stephen Fournier. “We had a couple of powerplays in overtime, they had a couple of powerplays, and we killed them off.”
In the third overtime, the Raptors got a penalty a minute and a half in and killed it off.
“As soon as we killed it off, it was just a flutter-puck they threw in at the net from the blue line, and it deflected off of one of our guys and caught our goalie coming the other way.”
This ends a very successful season for the U18 Raptors. They were defending champions going into the season. This result was as close as a game could possibly get.
“The kids played awesome there was nothing else you could ask for. They left everything on the ice,” said Fournier. “Kneehill was a great team, and to take them to triple overtime, especially in their barn, down a goal to start with. It’s a feat of its own.”
He is also grateful for the community support of the Raptors on their playoff drive. He also sees the growth of the Drumheller Minor Hockey program.
“Kids are wanting it more, we are getting the outside coaching, and it is helping a lot. It is getting nice to have hockey coming back in Drumheller like it was when I played.”IMG 1844

Dragons split shootout finishes

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The Dragons earned three out of a possible six points last week, with two games going all the way to shootouts.
The Dragons were on home ice on Tuesday, January 9 to take on the Camrose Kodiaks.
The Dragons struck first as new arrival Holden Cardinal scored on the powerplay 15:29 into the first period. The Kodaks however evened it up after one, and then went ahead in the second period. Jacob Goudreau scored with seven and a half minutes left in regular time to tie the game. After a scoreless overtime, the game went to a shootout, where Connor Poffenroth secured a win.
On Thursday, January 11 the Dragons were in Camrose to return the favour and went up by two goals by the midpoint of the first period. Coy Pighin put the Dragons on the scoreboard by the end of the first period. The Kodiaks scored just 36 seconds into the second period, but Poffenroth made it 3-2 by the end of the second. Goudreau scored the tying goal forcing overtime. Once again the game went to a shootout. It took seven shooters before the game was decided in favour of the Kodiaks.
On Saturday, January 13, 660 fans braved the cold to weather the Dragons take on the Blackfalds Bulldogs. This time the Dragons opened the scoring with Goudreau scoring less than two minutes into the game. The Bulldogs tied it up by the end of the period. The Dragons struck first again in the second as Ayden Peters found the net. Unfortunately the Bulldogs dropped two more in the second taking a 3-2 lead.
They opened the lead further just 34 seconds into the third period on the powerplay. The Dragons continued to pressure, and Austin Reschny scored his third of the season. To make it 4-3. That was as close as they could get as the Bulldogs snatched the win.
The Dragons are in luck this week with a three-game home stand. On Tuesday, January 16, the Dragons hosted the Grande Prairie Storm, results were not available at press time. Saturday, January 20 the Whitecourt Wolverines come to town, and on Sunday, January 21, the Drayton Valley Thunder visit for a matinee.


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