Written by Coach Curran
The Drumheller Dragons hosted the Calgary Canucks and the Calgary Mustangs this past weekend, splitting the games and gaining two points.
The Calgary Canucks are having a great start to their 2016-2017 season and are near the top of the league in mid-October. In our last meeting in September, the Dragons fell to the Canucks in a shootout, so we were looking to get even in our own building on Friday.
After the first two periods of action the Dragons and Canucks were tied 1-1 in a game that was fast-paced and exciting. Both teams had several great scoring chances but goaltender Hunter Virostek and the Canucks’ Logan Drackett kept their respective teams in the game. Brayden Nicholetts had the lone goal for the Dragons at the end of two periods, while Ben Assad scored for the Canucks.
The third period has been a good period for us all season but unfortunately that was not the case on Friday as the Canucks came out storming and a couple mistakes in just over 2 minutes had the Dragons back on their heels. We then took some poor penalties and the Canucks capitalized to take a 5-2 victory. It was Joren Patenaude who scored the other Dragons goal, but it was not enough.
Overall, I thought for two periods we played solid and it was an entertaining game. The first five minutes of the third surprised me, though, as we normally have a very strong third period. But that was not the case on Friday. The Canucks are a strong team and will capitalize on mistakes quickly, of which we made far too many at the start of the period. We are not good enough to just step on the ice and win – we need to work hard at it. It's a valuable lesson and one we need to learn quickly.
On Saturday the Dragons regrouped from the previous night’s loss to welcome the Calgary Mustangs. We needed a big start and we did not disappoint.
The Dragons took the lead quickly on goals by Evan Rochowiak, Brayden Nicholetts, Brett Campbell, Stefan Wood, and Brady Risk in the first period. Going into the first intermission we lead 5-1. The Dragons really showcased their play-making abilities and capitalized on almost all the mistakes made by the Mustangs.
There was no scoring in the second period, but we had solid goaltending from Dane Dow as we let our foot off the gas pedal. We were fortunate that Dane played as well as he did, or the outcome of this game would have been much different, as the Mustangs had many scoring opportunities in the second period.
Risk scored his second of the night seven minutes into the third period, and the Mustangs responded once more but the end result was 6-2 for the Dragons.
Overall, I was very happy with our start to this game, especially given the way we played the third period the previous night against the Canucks. We were moving the puck well and supporting the puck. We played with energy and with confidence. We played selfish for the next 25 minutes though, and if not for Dow we would have been in big trouble. He made several huge saves and I was happy for him to get his first win of the season. The third period was much better and it was good to see us come back and play a much better team game.
The Dragons play tonight in Camrose but the next home game is Saturday, October 15th when we host the Fort McMurray Oil Barons at 7:30pm.
Photo by Andrew Beattie