The Blair ice hockey team earned its seventh win of the season at Laurel Ice Gardens on Feb 1 when it downed an uninspired Whitman High School club, 8-3.
Blair started the game without the drive that it has shown throughout its 7-2 season and ended the first period only ahead of the weak Whitman squad 2-1.
The benching of four key players by first-year coach Kevin McCabe during the first period for skipping practice the previous day contributed to Blair's sluggish start.
In the second period, when Blair started to bring itself into the game emotionally and as the crowd grew, the Blazers began to pull away from the weaker opponent, at one point dumping in three goals in a period of five minutes.
On offense, Blair failed to put the puck in the back of the net on several odd-man rushes, but in the end they got the job done. Six Blazers tallied one goal a piece, and junior co-captain Max Eckert had two goals and two assists.
For the most part, Blair was relentless on defense, but a few lazy plays led to the three Whitman goals that kept the game from being a complete cupcake. Failed clears, a problem that has plagued Blair all season, kept the Blazers within Whitman's reach.
Junior defender Zack Tinkelman notched four assists and shut down a probing Viking offense in front of senior goaltender Andrew Cohn, who saved 22 shots.
Junior wing Chris Neal hammered the final nail into the Vikings' coffin with 17.2 seconds remaining in the third period when he slipped behind the Whitman defense and lifted the puck over the goalie's left shoulder.
The win against Whitman brought Blair to a 7-2 overall record and dropped Whitman to 1-8. Senior co-captain Andrew Ginsberg came out of the game satisfied with the progress of Blair's young team. "[Blair's] program has come a long way in my three years," he said. "I never thought that we would be one of the county's powerhouses."
On Feb 15 at 6:30, seniors, Ginsberg, Cohn, Brian Matheron and Andrew Melnick, will play their last high school hockey game when Blair faces off against Seneca Valley High School.
Cohn and Melnick, along with two other Blair hockey club players who attend other schools, are allowed to play for Blair because the schools they attend do not have enough interest or money to organize teams.
Lincoln Fischer. Senior sports writer Lincoln Fischer was born in Manhattan, New York on May 1st 1985. He presently lives in Takoma Park with his mother, father and sister. His father, Craig, is an editor for Pace Publications, which produces a number of newsletters related to criminal … More »