Dragons and Oilers Meet in Okotoks
(#27) Christopher Rauckman is tied for third in goals scored in the AJHL. Photo by Andrew Beattie.
Second place is on the line in the AJHL South Division tonight in Okotoks. The (18-10-5) Drumheller Dragons are going for their seventh win in eight games.
After knocking off the country's best on Sunday with a 6-2 win over the Fort McMurray Oil Barons, the Dragons are looking to keep the offense going.
Christopher Rauckman has one of the hottest sticks in the league and is tied with Spencer Foo of Bonnyville for third in goals scored with 20. Rauckman has five goals in his last four games and in his past eight games, he has been held off the goal scoring sheet just once.
Dragons forward Colton Vannucci is on a nine game point streak, while forward Hunter Mills is on a six game point streak.
Drumheller took the first meeting this season with Okotoks on November 8. Dragons scored two short handed goals in the first period en route to a 4-1 victory.
Unfortunately for the Dragons, they'll be without one of their leading contributors. Forward Dakota Zaharichuk is serving a one game suspension after receiving a game misconduct from Sunday's win over the Oil Barons.
The (18-9-5) Okotoks Oilers are just as hot as the Dragons. The team has won five in a row, including a weekend home-and-home sweep over the division leading Bandits.
Ty Clay and John Edwardh each have 25 points on the season to lead their team. Edwardh has four game winners. Okotoks owns one of the league's most efficient powerplays, operating at 18.31 per cent and is ranked fourth.
The goaltending situation has been good for the Oilers. Jared D'Amico has a 2.57 goals against average with a .908 save percentage and is fourth in the league in wins with 14. Backup Keelan Williams has 2.68 goals against average and .895 save percentage.
Here's the 2013-2014 schedule between the Dragons and Oilers:
Nov 8.....Drumheller @ Okotoks (Dragons 4, Oilers 1)
Dec 10...Drumheller @ Okotoks
Dec 21...Okotoks @ Drumheller
Jan 30....Okotoks @ Drumheller
Feb 17....Okotoks @ Drumheller
Feb 28....Drumheller @ Okotoks
Dragons Blast Top Ranked Oil Barons
(#19) Rory Davidson scores the Dragons sixth goal on Oil Barons goaltender Jesse Gordichuk. Photo by Andrew Beattie.
There may not be many Christmas cards exchanged this year between the Drumheller Dragons and Fort McMurray Oil Barons.
Dragons routed the number one ranked team in the nation, 6-2 at the Memorial Arena on December 8. It was their sixth win in their last seven games and forward Dakota Zaharichuk said things are coming together at the right time.
"It was a good bounce back win from last night and that's what we're looking for today."
Drumheller was coming off a 4-3 overtime loss to Olds the previous night where they gave up two goals in the final minute to the Grizzlys. The Dragons were able to shrug off the loss and show great maturity with a 60 minute effort against the Oil Barons.
Zaharichuk, who had a goal and two assists to extend his point streak to four games, said it was the Dragons veterans that helped rally the team before the game.
"I think a lot of guys took charge, our leaders stepped up."
The Oil Barons beat the Dragons in Fort McMurray in their only other meeting this year, a 4-1 win on October 19. This time, penalties were handed out like it was Christmas Day; 19 misconducts were given including four game misconducts.(#17) Alex Bechtold and the Dragons celebrate a 6-2 win over Fort McMurray. Photo by Andrew Beattie.
Dragons forward Alex Bechtold was once again a physical force, racking up 10 penalty minutes and was named Player of the Game. He said afterwards the Dragons want to be known as a tough gritty team to play against.
"It's a big part of our game for sure. We have a lot of big bodies and throwing some big hits out there. It changed the momentum of the game for sure."
Goaltender Jonny Hogue backstopped the Dragons with 28 saves on 30 shots and was one of the team's key penalty killers. Drumheller was 12 for 13 on the penalty kill against one of the AJHL's top powerplay units. As for the Oil Barons, they'll return home after a forgettable road trip; the team was shut out on Saturday in Canmore.
Forward Colton Vannucci extended his point game streak to nine games, while forward Hunter Mills extended his to six games and forward Christopher Rauckman has a goal in each of his last four games. The Dragons haven't lost in regulation at the Memorial Arena since November 13 against Drayton Valley.
Drumheller is tied with the Oilers in the South Division with 41 points. The two teams meet on December 10 in Okotoks.
Skip Set to Skate
#35 Curtis Skip (photo by Bryan Wilson)
It's been almost two months since Dragons goaltender Curtis Skip was sidelined with injury, but he's ready to resume practicing this week.
Skip suffered a high ankle sprain injury in a game against the Calgary Canucks on October 16, when Canucks forward, Brayden Beckley, collided with him on a breakaway.
After extensive training with team trainers, as well as working with a physio-therapist at Vauxhall Academy of Baseball, Skip's ankle has been well rehabbed.
“It's feeling really good,” says Skip. “I'm going to be putting the pads back on and maybe take some light shots and go from there, but it's feeling a lot better.”
There isn't a definitive time frame to see Skip entered back into the gameday line up as of yet, but Dragons fans can expect to see him back on the ice at practice as early as Monday.
Tune in to 99.5 Drum FM on Monday from 5:15-5:30 p.m. as Bryan Wilson sits down with Curtis Skip in studio.
Overtime Heartbreak at Memorial Arena
Photo by Bryan Wilson
The Drumheller Dragons took on the Olds Grizzlys on Saturday, in a game that needed extra time to decide a winner.
The Dragons had their five game winning streak snapped last night against the Olds Grizzlys at the Memorial Arena. Despite building up a 3-1 lead on goals from Dakota Zaharichuk, Mitchell Cook, and Christopher Rauckman, the Dragons were unable to close out the game in the final stages of the third period.
Olds kept the pressure on late in the game, scoring two goals in the final minute. Spencer Dorowicz scored his second goal of the game at 19:32 of the third period. It was followed up 27 seconds later as Christopher Gerrie scored with just one second left in the game, tying it up 3-3.
It only took 1:32 into overtime to decide the game, as Grizzlys defense-man Taylor Bilyk scored his second goal of the season, and the game winner.
The final score: 4-3 Grizzlys.
The Dragons are back in action Sunday afternoon when they host the Fort McMurray Oil Barons at the Memorial Arena. Puck drop is 2:00 p.m.
Listen to all the live play-by-play action on 99.5 Drum FM.
Dragons Make National Rankings
Logo with permission of AJHL.
The Drumheller Dragons have reached a milestone.
This week's Canadian Junior Hockey League standings give the Dragons an honorable mention as a team that just missed the top 20 in the country.
The Fort McMurray Oil Barons lead the list again, followed by Spruce Grove. Brooks is ranked 18th.
The Dragons' next game is this Saturday, at home to Olds. Fort McMurray comes to town Sunday afternoon.
Score Some Prizes at RBC Game Night
Leo the Lion at a previous RBC Game Night in Okotoks. Photo courtesy of RBC.
Show off your shootout skills at the next Dragons game and win some cool prizes.
RBC Game Night is happening on December 7 as the Drumheller Dragons and the Olds Grizzlys go head-to-head at the Memorial Arena.
Prizes will be given out to participants, including an autographed P.K Subban photo.
Former member of the Canadian national women's hockey team and RBC Game Night spokesperson, Bobbi-Jo Slusar said it will be happening one hour before the game.
"There's a lot of little things going on that I think heighten the game for everybody. Hopefully there is a good crowd and it's loud in there."
Slusar said a cheque will also be presented to the Drumheller Minor Hockey Association.
Powerplay Kills and Overtime Thrills
Hunter Mills after scoring the overtime winner. Photo by Bryan Wilson.
The Drumheller Dragons penalty killed their way to a 3-2 overtime win.
Dragons forward Troy Gedny was the first to light the lamp in the game. It was answered only minutes later by Patrick Geary of the Bobcats on the power-play. It was 1-1 after the first.
Only one goal was scored in the second period, it came from Tanner Dunkle of the Bobcats.
Hunter Mills was clutch in the third period, tying the game mid way through the frame. Mills was also the hero in overtime, scoring just a couple minutes in. Final score: Drumheller Dragons 3 Lloydminster Bobcats 2.
Drumheller killed off 9 minutes straight of penalties on the way to victory. Adam Beukeboom was solid with some key saves during the lengthy kill. The Dragons racked up 43 total penalty minutes in the game.
Bobcats out shot the Dragons 35-25.
The northern road trip continues for the Dragons tomorrow night (November 30) as they visit the Sherwood Park Crusaders. The game starts at 7:00 p.m. and will be broadcast on 99.5 Drum FM with Jason Blanke and Bryan Wilson starting at 6:50 p.m.Photo by Bryan Wilson.
Dragons Head North: Weekend Lookahead
Christopher Rauckman (27) will be key this weekend; he has three goals and one assist in his past three games. Photo by Bryan Wilson.
The AJHL South Division's best road team is leaving the valley for the weekend.
Drumheller has nine wins and four losses away from the Memorial Arena. As December approaches, three road tests await the Dragons starting with Lloydminster on Friday night in the Border Town.
Drumheller had six days to rest since their last game, a 6-3 convincing win over the Sherwood Park Crusaders on November 23. With 32 points, the Dragons are tied with the Canmore Eagles for third, but have a game in hand. The division is getting tight, with five points separating second place Okotoks and seventh placed Olds.
Defenseman Joey Raats is riding a four game point streak while forwards Christopher Rauckman and Colton Vannucci are looking to extend their point streak to four games.
Goalie Adam Beukeboom's 2.39 goals against average is second best in the South Division with a .909 save percentage.
The Dragons special teams continue to rank in the middle of the pack in the league. The powerplay is operating at 16.5 per cent, while the penalty kill is sitting at 83 per cent.
So who will Drumheller face this weekend?Lloydminster Bobcats (16-12-2), 3rd North DivisionSeason Series: Lloyd 5, Drum 4 (OT) - Oct. 12Logo courtesy of the AJHL.
Lloydminster is looking to extend their winning streak to three games. They have one of the better penalty kills in the league, ranked sixth at 85 per cent.
Tanner Dunkle has 25 points on the year to lead his team, including three game winners. Centre Braden Crone will also be a threat, notching 24 points this season.
Bobcats goalie Devin Green has been one of the more consistent goalies in the North Division with a 2.55 goals against average and 11 wins on the season.
Lloydminster is 7-5-0 against South Division teams this year. In the one meeting this year at the Memorial Arena, the Bobcats beat the Dragons thanks to an overtime goal from Nolan Yaremchuk.
Game time is 7:30 p.m. on November 29.Sherwood Park Crusaders (13-16-1), 6th North DivisionSeason Series: Drum 4, Sher 2 - Sep. 28, Drum 6, Sher 3- Nov. 23Logo courtesy of the AJHL.
The Crusaders rebounded from a disastrous southern road trip with a 6-3 win over Bonnyville this week. Sherwood Park was outscored 17-7 against Brooks, Drumheller and the Calgary Canucks.
Sherwood Park made news this week when they traded forward Jake Mykitiuk to Spruce Grove after he received a gross misconduct against the Dragons for a hit to Colton Vannucci.
The three headed attack of Andrew Taverner, Sean MacTavish and Nicholas Jones will be the key for Sherwood Park if they are going to have any shot at getting revenge on the Dragons. Nearly half of the Crusaders goals this season have been scored by those three players.
Last time these two teams met, the Dragons won 4-2 despite being outshot. Hunter Mills scored the game winner. Crusaders host the Dragons on November 30 at 7:00 p.m.Drayton Valley Thunder (10-16-2), 8th North DivisionSeason Series: Dray 4, Drum 2 - Nov. 13Logo courtesy of the AJHL.
Heading into Friday, the Thunder haven't won since they upset the Dragons at the Memorial Arena on November 13. No one in the AJHL has scored less than Drayton Valley with a league low 71 goals.
Forward Nathan Smith leads the way in points with 24. Goalie Marc Olivier Daigle has a 2.97 goals against average.
Dragons will try take advantage of a weak Thunder penalty kill, which is operating at 78 per cent. Thunder host the Dragons on December at 2:30 p.m.Notes:
Drumheller has traded Sam Williams to the Flin Flon Bombers of the SJHL in exchange for future considerations.
All games this weekend will be broadcast live on 99.5 Drum FM.
Dragons/Grizzlys rescheduled game announced
Logo courtesy AJHLA cancelled game on November 16, 2013 between the Dragons and Grizzlys has been rescheduled.The Drumheller Dragons and Olds Grizzlys had to wait to play their first game against each other this season due to a winter storm.That game has since been officially rescheduled for Tuesday January 28, 2014. The game starts at 7:30 p.m. in Olds, AB. All the action will still be broadcast live on 99.5 Drum FM, as previously scheduled.The Dragons won the last meeting against the Grizzlys 4-3 in overtime on November 19, 2013 at the Memorial Arena in Drumheller.
Dragons Getting Together to Bowl with Local Youth
Brad Burrell of Sandstone Lanes is getting the Bowling Alley ready for the Dragons night with the Youth Bowling Club. Photo by Nathan Crosby.
Some local kids will get to go bowling with their favourite junior hockey players.
The Drumheller Dragons will bowl with the Youth Bowling Club at Sandstone Lanes on November 27 at 6:00 p.m.
Brad Burrell of Sandstone said they're going to match the Dragons with the kids to make the teams.
"If people want to come and watch the Dragons bowl with the kids, they're more than welcome to come in and cheer them on."
"We'll have some food afterwards so the Dragons and kids can socialize and get to know each other a little bit and have some fun."
Burrell said there are 14 kids in the league but he is looking to grow the club. He added if anyone is interested in signing their kids up for bowling they can contact him at Sandstone Lanes.
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