Sports

Owls slated against tougher northern squads down stretch

The ice hockey club plays four teams located in New York state or farther north.

Four of the final eight games on the Owls’ schedule in 2015 will come against teams north of Pennsylvania.

Sunday, the ice hockey club defeated Canisius College, 6-5, from Buffalo, New York and the team is scheduled to play Syracuse University Nov. 13 and a pair of games against the University of Rhode Island  Dec. 11 and 12.

“We definitely want to come in and be very mentally focused,” sophomore defenseman John Kumpf said. “Playing these northern teams is going to be a lot more difficult than what we are seeing. They are going to be fast-paced games with more hitting. We just have to buckle down and play their style.”

This season, Rhode Island, Syracuse and Canisius have a combined record of 16-24-1. Rhode Island was ranked No. 23 spot in the ACHA Division I rankings Nov. 4.

“I don’t think you can look at their records,” coach Roman Bussetti said. “You need to look at their schedule and see who they played. If they are losing to [Division 2] and [Division 3] schools, then yes, that is something to be worried about. But if they are losing to top [Division 1] schools, then it is just good hockey.”

Since 2010, the club is 1-5 against teams in New York or farther north. Opponents outscored Temple 25-18 in those games.

“Outside of our league, we are trying to expand into strong competition for non-league games that can give us a good test and a good matchup, so that we can measure up against some of the best teams in the country,” senior defenseman Patrick Hanrahan said.

Redshirt-sophomore forward Kenny Orlando skated for the University of New York at Canton, which is an independent at the NCAA’s Division III level last season.

Orlando experienced the northern culture of hockey with SUNY Canton. His former squad played against teams in the State University of New York Athletic Conference.

“It’s kind of a different atmosphere of hockey, so I think they have different views of how to play the game,” Orlando said. “If we are struggling a certain way against the northern teams, it’s probably a certain style that they are playing, [instead of] one kid beating us or two kids beating us all game. It’s kind of a different look at the game as compared to the south or the different regions where they play.”

Bussetti played NCAA Division III hockey at New Hampshire College in 1991 and transferred to play ACHA Division 1 hockey for West Chester University in 1993.

Bussetti and his teammates at New Hampshire had access to their on-campus home ice rink. He said the atmosphere surrounding the Division III program was different from the culture of Temple’s club team.

“New Hampshire was NCAA, so we were on the ice six days a week,” Bussetti said. “The NCAA mandated that we had to be off one day a week, but other than that, it was a lot more commitment from those guys. A lot more commitment. At West Chester, it was a little more laid back.”

Stephen Godwin can be reached at stephen.godwin@temple.edu or on Twitter @StephenGodwinJr.

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