Winless season ends in loss to Colonels
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.
FEB. 10, WHEATON INDOOR ICE RINK—
The sign held by a cheering fan read, "#52 in the standings, but #1 in our hearts." After losing to the Magruder Colonels 5-1 tonight in front of a rowdy and supportive crowd, the Blair Community ice hockey team indeed finished their season ranked last in the 52-team Maryland Scholastic Hockey League, with a winless 0-12 record. The team struggled all year due to a lack of experience, but has high hopes for next year.
The game seemed even at first, with both teams pressuring but each side's defense holding up well five minutes in, when a Magruder player brought the puck around behind the net and slipped it in past junior goalie Robbie Ginsberg to take the lead. The puck continued to go back and forth, with some excellent offense from senior Lee Shields and junior Marty Viger, who was playing for the first time since being ejected in the game against Gaithersburg.
Later in the period, the Colonels scored again when a player skated past the Blazer defense and scored on a breakaway. Blair responded several minutes later, when senior Peter Semitekolos passed to freshman Jon Kesten, who scored on a shot from the left side of the goal. Magruder came right back at the end of the period after winning a face-off and skating past the Blair defenders to tap in the puck from just left of the net.
In the second period, Magruder maintained their slight advantage with better passing and stick skills. They scored early on a rebound after a save by Ginsberg to stretch their lead to 4-1. The Blazers got more desperate as the period went on, and the game grew more and more violent, with lots of penalties from each side.
Late in the period, a fight broke out behind the Magruder net between Viger, Shields and three Magruder players. The referee's official account of the incident was that Shields had instigated the fight with a Magruder player, and Viger was the "3rd man in," meaning that he joined the fight to help his teammate. Shields and Viger, as well as one of the involved Colonels, were all ejected for misconduct.
The referees took more than ten minutes and had trouble coming to this conclusion. According to Blair coach Kevin McCabe, "The refs did not have a good command of the situation and then appropriate penalties, and I had to explain the rules to them."
Despite the calls made by the referees, a video of the fight recorded by a spectator clearly shows Viger being attacked first by three Magruder players, and Shields only joining the fray to pull away one of the Colonels.
However, McCabe does not attribute Blair's loss to the decisions made by the referees. "The refs did not contribute to the outcome. We got outplayed, they scored more goals," he said.
Because of the time wasted in the aftermath of the fight, the third period had to be cut short to only six minutes in order to clear the ice in time for the scheduled free skate session. Without Shields and Viger, the Blazers tried to close the lead but couldn't break through the Colonel's defense. Two minutes before the end of the game, a Magruder player broke through the Blair defense and had a one-on-one shot on goal. Ginsberg came out of the net to meet him, but the player skillfully flipped the puck up over the goalie's head and skated around him to tap it into the now empty net to close out the night.
While the team was upset about the loss, as well as their difficult season, they remained upbeat and hopeful for next year. McCabe was pleased with the performance of his players, saying "I saw some very good play from a lot of my kids. I have no complaints." The team will lose several graduating seniors, but has a lot of young talent in sophomores Ben Kastner and Alex Sandberg-Bernard, as well as Kesten.
Ginsberg views this season as a learning experience for the team and said, "The extra experience will help us out next year, and we still have the best fans in the world, so next year will be okay as long as they keep on supporting us."
Jon Berger. Jon Berger is a junior in the magnet. He likes ipods, poker, mountain biking, Batman, and listing some of his favorite bands. So : Fugazi, GY!BE, Kid Dynamite, At the Drive-In, Comeback Kid, Envy, Christie Front Drive, Rites of Spring, Neutral Milk Hotel, Hot Cross, … More »