Blazers suffer a 9-2 loss despite determined play
Disclaimer: This report was gathered from reflections of Blair players and coaches after the game. It is posted to provide readers with a forum for discussion.
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 OUTDOOR ICE RINK, DEC. 19 –
Northern defeated Blair's ice hockey club 9-2 in a physical game played at the Wheaton Outdoor Ice Rink Friday evening. The loss bumped the team's record down to 4-5 and exposed its weakness in solid defensive play.
A win seemed feasible in the beginning of the game when the Blazers grabbed an early lead thanks to strong offensive acuity. In the second minute of the game, junior assistant captain Max Pollacco stole the puck from a Northern player and drove it into Northern's goal. Despite this initial one-point lead, Blair allowed the four subsequent Northern goals to go unanswered, thus falling behind.
Many of the surrendered goals resulted from a lack of defensive coordination, according to Pollacco. "We had bad defensive zone coverage," he said. "We weren't getting anyone in front of the net." Pollacco also cited teamwork as an area in which the Blazers could improve. Head coach Kevin McCabe was not present at the game and unavailable for comment.
To compensate, the Blazers played more aggressively and physically, but could not ultimately ward off the Northern offense. "We played physical, but as soon as we lost the lead we started to give up," Pollacco said.
Although the team had difficulty penetrating Northern's defense, a few players were able to pull together in the second period for another goal. Pollacco took control of the puck, sliding it across the ice to junior Jens Joseph who pushed it past the Northern goalie. With the score now at a less daunting 4-2, Blazers regained some of their confidence. But as Northern players slammed goal after goal past Blair defense, the team's morale – and chances at winning – deflated once again, Pollacco said.
Blair players were able to recover their offensive physical strength towards the end of the game, but attempts to score were fruitless against powerful Northern players. "We started to pick it up in the third period, but it wasn't enough to make a difference," Pollacco said.
Their defensive setbacks may have hindered their chance at a win, but the Pollacco insists the team knows what to improve upon for their next game.
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