Solid defense and passing brings Blair its first regular season victory
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 ICE ARENA, Nov. 29 -
The Blazers (2-2) beat the Sherwood Arrows, by a score of 7-1 in an exciting game that boosted the team's confidence.
Although Sherwood came in with a 2-0 record, including a win against Whitman, a team that beat Blair, the Blazers controlled the game early. In the first period, junior winger Ryan Henson scored his first of three goals and sophomore captain Rudy Carson scored another, ending the period with a 3-1 lead. "We struck a lot earlier," freshman defenseman Samuel Han said.
According to junior assistant captain and defenseman Alex Stewart, the team's overall defensive play was greatly improved from previous games. "Defense was ten times better," Stewart said. Sophomore goalie Michael Dyvneck assisted Blair's solid defense and saved 19 shots on goal; he most notably made excellent pad saves on two Sherwood players.
Blair's strongest period was the second half, when Stewart scored a goal and gave an assist to junior winger Willie Banwell. Henson scored two more goals, one of them on a power play, and Carson scored another as well.
Beating Sherwood gave Blair some momentum to take into its next game. Stewart was pleased with Blair's improvement against Sherwood. "Allowing only one goal to a team like that is really impressive. They killed us last year," he said.
According to head coach Didier Devynck, Blair can owe its improvement to clean playing, better defense and more conservation of energy. "They're a good team, they have good players, but we outplayed them," Devynck said. "We stuck to the game plan, which was to not take any penalties, and for defense to play defense."
This emphasis on zone also had positive results for Blair. "We weren't always losing the puck in the neutral zone, and it gave them less opportunities," Devynck said.
Another big factor in the win was enthusiasm. "Everybody jumped into play," said Carson. "We had guys who don't usually score sitting there on the bench saying, 'I've got to get one today,' and they did." The team hopes to transfer the same enthusiasm to its next game, against Bethesda-Chevy Chase.
The ice hockey team will play their next home game against Bethesda-Chevy Chase on Wednesday, Nov. 8 at 4:30 p.m.
Alison Kronstadt. Alison Kronstadt is happiest when she's making you laugh, so tell her her stories are funny or she'll cry. She has a lot of opinions and hopes you like to read them. She wrote her first bio when she was an awkward little junior and ... More »