Thursday, March 07, 2013 – Special team play was the difference last night as the Drumheller Dragons defeated the Canmore Eagles 3-2 in Game One of their Best-of-Five Alberta Junior Hockey League opening round playoff series.
Game Two of the series will be played tonight in Drumheller, before the series shifts back to Canmore for Game Three on Saturday, March 9, and Game Four (if necessary) on Sunday, March 10.
The Dragons, playing in front of a hometown crowd of 843 fans at the Memorial Arena, connected for two power-play goals, while the Eagles went scoreless on four power-play opportunities, including a two-man advantage for over a minute and a half.
Canmore received goals from Alex Bechtold and Riley Point, while Ryan Aaasman, Brennan Baxandall and Harrison Hendrix replied for Drumheller. The Dragons outshot the Eagles 28-22 on the night.
“The game could have gone either way,” said Eagle’s Head Coach and General Manager Andrew Milne. “I thought we played a pretty good game but we didn’t get the bounces when we needed them. We had a lot of chances on our 5-3, but couldn’t get the puck to settle down. Had we scored there, it might have been a different game. They scored two power-play goals on us and I think both PP goals were the result of some lucky bounces.  It’s just one game, and you have to win three to win the series. We’ll do our best to bounce back on Thursday night.”
The Eagles will once again be running a fan bus to tonight’s game in Drumheller and seats are still available. If you want to cheer the boys on, the bus will depart the Canmore Recreation Centre at 4 pm sharp. Return bus transportation is $45.
NOTEBOOK: The Dragons played last night’s game without the services of Head Coach/ GM  Brian Curran who was serving the last of his three-game suspension for using an eligible player during a Feb. 23 game. . . . Eagle defenceman Alex Barnes played his 200 career AJHL game last night . . .Bechtold was the Eagle’s “Star of the Game”, while Harrison Hendrix was the Dragon’s “Star of the Game”.  . . Almost half of the Eagle’s roster is now sporting playoff “Mohawk” haircuts. . . In other AJHL Southern Division playoff action last night, the Olds Grizzlys (7th-seed) surprised the Okotoks Oilers (2nd-seed) 2-1 in Okotoks, and the Calgary Mustangs (6th-seed) downed the hometown Camrose Kodiaks (3rd-seed) 5-3.