It was another difficult and disappointing weekend for the Aspray Chester Deeside Dragons, as they had two strong efforts against Hull and Whitley Bay, but failed to take any points.
We welcomed back Petr Valusiak and Chris Jones this weekend, both making their season debut in Hull, as well as Oli and Rhys Howells, making their Dragons debut in Hull. Louis Morgan also played his first game of the season on Sunday against Whitley Bay.
The Hull Jets won their league last season and moved up to Division 1, shocking everyone by beating Billingham in their opening game. They had a 1-1 record going into this weekend.
The Whitley Warriors have always been the Dragons’ white whale. Last season they were one of only two teams the Dragons didn’t beat at least once. They come into the Den with a 4-0 record.
It was a very tightly matched game for the first two
periods. Early in the second it appeared MJ Clancy had scored, but it was waved off as the Hull goalie appeared to suffer an injury on the initial save. Hull scored to make it 1-0 at the end of the second during a stretch of 4 on 4 play, before immediately doubling their lead on the first shot of the third period. It quickly became 3-0, and the Dragons had to wait until the 50 minute mark to break the shutout, with Cade King scoring his first as a Dragon, assisted by Brodie Jesson.
The Jets added one more goal for a 4-1 finish, but the real story of this game was penalties. Both teams combined for over 80 penalty minutes (52 for Hull, 29 for Deeside), and it felt like almost none of the game was played at 5 on 5. Both teams were strong on the PK, and the only man advantage goal scored was Hull’s 4th (on a delayed penalty).
This might be Hull’s first season in Division1, but they’ve showed that they’re no pushover.
Fresh off a Saturday win at home against Widnes, the Warriors came to town on Sunday for the first time this season.
For the first time this season, the Dragons opened the scoring, with an unassisted beauty from Petr Valusiak to make it 1-0. He added a power play goal not long after, and the Dragons would go into the first intermission up by 2. The Warriors looked thoroughly un-Warrior-like in the first, but found their footing in the second and ran Deeside ragged, evening up the score and heavily tilting the ice in their favour. A fight from Karl Bacon and Jay Lucas helped reset the Dragons a little, going into the third period tied, but the Warriors would score two more goals to make it 4-2. They scored a fifth goal with less than a minute to go, but it was waved off for a high stick.
It was another high penalty affair for both teams, but the Dragons’ penalty kill continues to look strong, and the power play has been improving from game to game. Though it was a loss, this was the Dragons’ best effort of the young season so far.
The Dragons face off against the Solihull Barons next weekend at home on Sunday October 1st. Doors open at 4:30, puck drops at 5:15, and tickets will be online for purchase very soon!