Montgomery Blair High School's Online Student Newspaper
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Jan. 16, 2008

Gaithersburg edges Blair hockey

by Kiera Zitelman, Online Editor-in-Chief
The Blair community ice hockey team is not affiliated with or sponsored by the Montgomery Blair High School athletic program or Montgomery County Public Schools. The team is an independent group of Blair students.

WHEATON INDOOR ICE RINK, JAN. 15 -

In an even matchup, the Blair community ice hockey team lost to Gaithersburg 7-6 on Tuesday. The game was tied until the final two minutes, when Gaithersburg scored its seventh goal to capture the game, dropping Blair's record to 1-6.
Junior Adith Ramamurti keeps the puck away from an opposing Gaithersburg defender. Julia Seiger
Junior Adith Ramamurti keeps the puck away from an opposing Gaithersburg defender.

Both teams entered the match with 1-5 records. Gaithersburg and Blair were well matched in the first period; both teams had approximately the same amount of shots on goal and ended the period in a tie. Junior forward Adith Ramamurti scored the first goal off of a rebound, putting the Blazers ahead 1-0 barely 90 seconds into the game. Gaitherburg tied it up four minutes later, but two minutes after that, senior captain and center Alex Sandberg-Bernard passed to senior defenseman Ben Kastner for Blair's second goal. With 3:30 remaining, Gaithersburg tied the game again, and took the lead soon after that. The period ended with both teams tied at three, with junior defenseman Jon Kesten's long shot into the bottom right corner of the net.

Gaithersburg scored at the middle of the second period for a 4-3 lead. Kastner scored twice to put the Blazers ahead, 5-4. With six minutes remaining, he skated around the Gaithersburg goal and whipped the puck in just past the goalie for the second of his four goals.

Freshman goalie Peirce Marston saved 31 out of 38 shots, while the Blazers had just 20 shots. "Peirce played a good game," said senior forward Tyler Kelly. "It was just bad luck."

The second period started off with a near fight between senior defenseman Tobi Adeoye and a Gaithersburg player at the Gaithersburg goal. The referees managed to break it up, but it was just one of the many fights and penalties that occurred during the game. In total, Blair had seven penalties and Gaithersburg had five. One of Blair's penalties took Sandberg-Bernard off the ice for ten minutes when he was charged with checking from behind and misconduct.

Penalties are a recurring problem for the Blazers, according to coach Kevin McCabe. "I am constantly reminding my boys that we need to stay out of the box," he said.

According to Kelly, there have been fights at Blair-Gaithersburg games the past two years. "They were pretty physical," he said. Adeoye and Sandberg-Bernard were both restrained at the end of the game to avoid brawls. "They were trash-talking the whole time," Sandberg-Bernard said.
Sophomore Logan Schwebel  moves towards the goal with a Gaithersburg defender right behind him. Julia Seiger
Sophomore Logan Schwebel moves towards the goal with a Gaithersburg defender right behind him.

As a result of the penalties, Gaithersburg was on power plays for much of the game, including the final minutes. This was an important factor in Blair's loss, McCabe said. "Had we played them even in the last three or four minutes, we might have gotten the deciding goal," he said.

The referees, who also officiated at last week's 6-1 loss to Germantown, again drew controversy. "They missed a lot of calls," Kastner said, including a disputed Blair goal at the end of the game that could have given the Blazers a victory. "I could tell that went in," Kastner said. "I don't know how they missed that."

Kastner cited the Blair defense as one area in need of improvement. "Our defense was awful," he said. "We couldn't clear the puck, we were running around...We had a bad effort on defense."

The Blair offense was improved though, according to Kastner. "We had some good passing - better than in some other games," he said. "It was the reason why we were in the game for so long. [The game] was definitely winnable."

McCabe praised the Blazers' diligence. "We didn't quit. We scored a goal right off the bat," he said. "I'm proud of the way they fought."



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