We did it! The Aspray Chester Deeside Dragons have finally started their 2022/23 ice hockey season. It’s been a long time coming, but on Sunday the Dragons got on the ice in Sheffield with a decent amount of travelling support to witness the Dragons take an overtime win.
In the build-up to the game, the Aspray Chester Deeside Dragons had spent just 2 & a half hours on the ice as a team with no real time to go over plays and systems. Sunday’s game was the first real chance the players got to work together in their lines and start to really work together. The moment the Dragons took to the ice was a proud moment for so many people from the players & coaching staff to the back room volunteers, an achievement that some in the UK ice hockey world said would not happen.
The feeling was that the Dragons would score any moment, but travelling fans had to wait for over 6 minutes for the Aspray Chester Deeside Dragons to open the scoring with a superb unassisted goal from #55 Ross Kennedy. Kennedy picked up the puck in our own defensive zone before cutting around two Sheffield players and firing the puck in the top right corner of the net past the Sheffield netminder.
The Sheffield netminder proved to be a valuable part of the Sheffield team pulling off a number of impressive saves to keep the score down to 0 – 1. Just before the end of the 1st period, Sheffield managed to equalise, not the best time to concede a goal but it definitely gave Head Coach Mike Clancy some points to bring up during the break.
During the 2nd period, the Dragons managed to pull a 2-goal lead going 1 – 3 up with goals from #72 Chris Jones & another goal from #55 Ross Kennedy. The Dragons went on to have a decent share of attempts on goal but as the 2nd period went on you could maybe see that the Dragons were starting to tire a little due to the limited training. As the period went on Sheffield was finding more space and this enabled them to bring the score back to 3 – 3 at the end of the 2nd period.
The start of the 3rd period became a little bit scrappy for the first 5 minutes then Deeside started to take control again and it wasn’t long before #79 Petr Valusiak opened his Dragons scoring account with his first goal of the season. but like the other 2 periods before, Sheffield once again managed to bring the scores level taking the game into overtime. 5 minutes of 3-on-3 next goal wins, it took the Dragons less than 60 seconds to seal the win when who else but the Aspray Chester Deeside Dragons Captain #5 James Parsons scored the winner!
This season is set to be an exciting season where the lads are just going to get better and better, as soon as we get home ice and Mike Clancy & his coaching team can get the drills and plays set the Dragons are going to be something special.
After the game, Mike Clancy said it felt amazing to see the Aspray Chester Deeside Dragons back on the ice after dreaming about it for quite some time. Clancy was happy with the result especially when you take into account we have had very little training and no systems. The lads relied on their hockey brains to get through the game and it paid off.
Next up for the Dragons is facing Widnes Wild away on Saturday 8th of October (M56 Cup) & Whitley Warriors away on Sunday 9th of October.