Poolesville falls to boys' ice hockey 7-3
WHEATON ICE ARENA, Dec. 2 —
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.
The Blair community boys' ice hockey team (2-2) defeated a Poolesville/Northwood/Albert Einstein/Seneca Valley combination team 7-3 in their third home game and second victory of the season. Blair's players and coach described it as the team's strongest performance yet.
After developing a strong lead in the first two periods, Blair accentuated the scoreboard gap in the third period when Poolesville's offense began to lag. Senior Max Pollacco scored, as did sophomore Alex Stewart, but the game's emotional high point arrived when sophomore Willie Banwell scored his first ice hockey goal ever. His success garnered an exuberant celebration from the team and spectators.
Blair coach Kevin McCabe said that Banwell's goal was a milestone for Banwell and the team. "Any player who gets their first goal usually remembers it," he said. "Those are really the moments that you live for."
The third period also saw an increasingly confrontational game, as minor skirmishes and near-fights sent three Blazers to the penalty box at once and incited an argument between the referee and McCabe. Despite Blair's serious disadvantage due to a lack of players in the game's final moments, Poolesville was unable to break the ranks of Blazer defense. Ultimately, Blair walked away with a decisive triumph over a team that played very competitively for most of the game.
The last period was spotted with intense action, but the beginning of the game also commenced with a bang; two sizable collisions in the first 30 seconds set an energetic pace and aggressive undercurrent that both the Blazers and Falcons maintained for most of the competition.
The first period was characterized by sound play from both teams. Although Poolesville's offensive line came out strong, the Blazer defense rose to the challenge. Junior Peirce Marston was stalwart in goal, fending off a flurry of Falcon shots amid chaos in the Blair defensive zone. Senior Logan Schwebel secured Blair's defense with deft skating and notable aggression, which were on display when he knocked a Poolesville player to the ice after he momentarily lost his stick.
The game remained scoreless until the first period clock read 3:35, when Pollacco knocked the puck into the net after a speedy rush across the rink. Poolesville, however, scored a mere 18 seconds later to tie the game 1-1. Fortunately, senior Jens Josephs returned the favor with under two minutes to go in the first period and sent Blair into the first break with a one-goal advantage.
During the second period, both teams continued to play well. Poolesville scored another goal, but Blair knocked up their score with a pair of perfectly executed goals from the dynamic offensive duo Pollacco and Josephs, who respectively assisted and scored twice in a row.
The Blazers were thrilled with their performance. Senior Andrew Tran thought Blair's passing was particularly solid and diminished the Poolesville players' energy. "Keep them playing, they break down," he said.
McCabe was worried about freshman Rudy Carson, who was pulled out during the first period for an injured shoulder. Carson scored three goals in Blair's last home game, but was unable to play against Poolesville. Regardless, Carson was pleased with Blair's performance and said that his players worked to the best of their abilities. "This was probably the best game we've played this year," he said. "All of my defensemen were stellar. Tonight, the kids did themselves proud."
The boys' ice hockey team plays their next home game against Thomas S. Wootton on Dec. 16 at 8:15 p.m.
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