Blazers dominate game to secure 11- 0 victory
WHEATON ICE ARENA, Jan. 12 -
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.
Blair ice hockey (5-3) easily defeated the Blake Bengals (0-6) in an uneven Wednesday night game. Strong Blair offense and smooth passes kept most of the game on Blake's side of the ice.
The Blazers dominated early, racking up two goals in the first three minutes of the game. With a string of fast-paced goals, energetic players kept Blake's defense busy and widened the lead to 5-0 by the end of the first period. The strong Blazer offense kept the Bengals completely out of Blair territory for the first 13 minutes of the game.
Playing a weaker team gave Blair the opportunity to finesse their game and concentrate on strong line changes and solid plays. Head coach Dider Devynck noted that the game was an opportunity to give newer players more playing time. "The goal was to try to get everyone to play and score. But unfortunately that didn't happen and some people still didn't get a chance at the goal," he said.
While the Blazers widened their lead in the second period and all players got a chance to play, more experienced players still dominated the scoring. Flawless assists and well-executed plays allowed junior winger Willie Banwell to score two goals, and goals by junior assistant captain defenseman Alex Stewart and senior defenseman Ben Kaufman helped widen Blair's lead to 11-0.
According to Devynck, the margin of Blair's win came as no surprise. "We knew we were playing the weakest team in the league," he said. Despite this knowledge, the Blazers stayed aggressive until they were confident that Blake couldn't match them.
In the third period, Blair's scoring stalled as the offense, satisfied with their secure point advantage, became noticeably less energetic. With a new chance get a chance at the puck, Blake made several solid shots on goal that finally put Blair defense and sophomore goalie Michel Devynck to work. Strong passing by the Blazers kept Bengal offense at bay even as they became more aggressive.
In the midst of a power play and with less than two minutes left in the game, Blair and Blake got physical when a fight broke out between defensemen from both teams. Scoreboard malfunctions caused the game to end as referees were speaking to players, leaving the score at 11-0. Devynck said he noticed the players exchanging words throughout the game, but did not think the fighting would carry on in future games. "There's not much you can do. We try to be a clean team," he said.
Despite the lack of scoring at the end of the game, the Blazers' easy win gave the team confidence. "We beat Blake with style," said junior left wing Ryan Henson.
According to Devynck, the team has the confidence and skills to stay competitive in the remainder of the season, though there probably won't be another win as easy as Blake. He said the Blazers' Jan. 24 game against Walter Johnson will be a challenge. "It's going to be a tough game. We want to beat Walter Johnson and I think we can," he said.
The ice hockey team will play their next home game on Monday, Jan. 24 against Walter Johnson at 5:15 p.m.
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