Dragons split pre­sea­son se­ries with Lloy­d­min­ster

The Drumheller Mail - - SPORTS - Pa­trick Ko­lafa The Drumheller Mail mailphoto by Pa­trick Ko­lafa

About 400 fans were able to see the 20162017 edi­tion of the Drumheller Dragons and saw some bright spots.

The Dragons wrapped up the ex­hi­bi­tion season last Fri­day night at the Drumheller Memo- rial Arena. The night be­fore they were in Lloy­d­min­ster where they beat the Bob­cats 3-1. Both teams re­turned for the re­match, and Drumheller looked strong out of the gate. The Dragons out­shot the Bob­cats 14-2 in the first pe­riod, and went up 2-0 with goals from Bray­den Ni­c­ho­letts on the power play, and then Tyler Oak­en­fold.

“In the first 35 min­utes there is not much we can say neg­a­tive about our team,” said head coach Brian Cur­ran. “We did a lot of good things, I think our d-zone was good, our tran­si­tional good, our neu­tral zone as good, we were play­ing phys­i­cal and we com­peted re­ally hard.” It didn’t take long for the Bob­cats to get back in it, end­ing the sec­ond pe­riod tied at two, and then scor­ing the win­ner in the third.

“Their goalie kept them in the game, and then we had a break­down. I felt the mo­men­tum changed, in­stead of play­ing as a team we played more like in­di­vid­u­als after scor­ing the sec­ond goal on the power play,” said Cur­ran. “We lost our com­po­sure.”

“Did we work hard? Ex­tremely hard. For the first 35 min­utes we worked as a team, for the last 25, we worked as in­di­vid­u­als.”

De­spite the loss, there were many pos­i­tives for the young Dragons.

‘”I felt we con­trolled a lot of the play in both games, but we leaned a lot. We made some young mistakes and I am glad they are hap­pen- ing now. There is no ques­tion we are the youngest team in the league and I think if we can push it and grow to­gether as a team, we will just get bet­ter and bet­ter,” said Cur­ran,

The fo­cus for Cur­ran has to be hard work. “They are a hard work­ing team,” he said. “The ef­fort is go­ing to be there ev­ery night. We won’t have play­ers who are not go­ing to com­pete. If they are not com­pet­ing, they are go­ing to put them­selves in the stands, and they have been made well aware of that.”

While he doesn’t de­mand per­fec­tion, he de­mands progress.

“We know this is a work in progress… but as long as we are grow­ing all year, teams will know what to ex­pect from us.”

The Dragons kick off the reg­u­lar season on Fri­day, Septem­ber 16 in Cam­rose. Their home opener is Fri­day, Septem­ber 23 at 7:30 p.m. Prior to the game there is a tail­gate party at the BCF with food, games, prizes and face paint­ing. That ac­tion kicks off at 5 p.m.

The Dragons split with Lloy­d­min­ster, first win­ning 3-1 in Bob­cat’s ter­ri­tory Thurs­day, and then fall­ing 3-2 at the Drumheller Me­mo­rial Arena.

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