The Owls have struggled on the road coming off the break into the final four games of the regular season going 6-8.
The calendar change has helped the team reverse course, as it has gone 2-0 in its first two games of 2015. The latter win came when center David Brewer and defenseman John Anthony contributed a goal and an assist in a 4-1 win over the University of Maryland Baltimore County on Jan. 25 at the Reisterstown Sportsplex.
“I think it’s just the reality of the situation,” coach Ryan Frain said. “Games like that, and knowing that we only have four games left in the regular season. It’s kind of put a sense of urgency in everyone’s minds here.”
The difference in the game came on Temple’s penalty kill as they held the Retrievers to a 1 for 6 performance on the man-advantage.
“Our penalty kill did a great job tonight,” Frain said. “I think we may have been short-handed four or five times throughout the game and only gave up one power play goal. I told those guys that I thought special teams was going to play a huge factor. I can tell you from my experience of being a coach the past four years that no matter what type of team UMBC has, they are always very good on the power play.”
The Owls also got scoring from three of four lines on the night to provide a consistent scoring threat throughout the game.
“We had a good variety of production tonight,” Frain said. “Everyone was talking at the end of the game [that] it was a great team win. It wasn’t just one line that was able to be effective tonight, it was every single line.”
Frain told his team before the game that he would like to get a quick start to this game and Anthony obliged with his first goal as an Owl.
Less than a minute later, Brewer scored on a broken play that put the pressure on the Retrievers.
“It was kind of a broken play by UMBC, and [Justin] McKenney picked it up and went in front of the net and I was close and I just took the shot and it hit the goalie and it j It was kind of a broken play by UMBC, and McKenney picked it up and went in front of the net and I was close and I just took the shot and it hit the goalie and just trickled in.,” Brewer said.
Forward Stephen Kennedy added a goal at the beginning of the third period, but the Retrievers scored to spoil the shut-out threat by Temple goalie Eric Semborski.
“Defensively, we did a good job of [keeping] them to the outside and following our shots and our breakout was pretty key,” Semborski said. “Once we got the puck, we were able to move up the ice pretty effectively and not get trapped in our own zone.”
Forward Brady O’Donnell answered two minutes later to cap the Owls second-straight win.
The Owls continue their season on Feb. 6 when they try to avenge a 6-2 loss to the Delaware Blue Hens at the Rust Ice Arena.
“We’re happy with these two wins, but you have to put them in your rearview and get ready for the next two, [because] they are two huge games and we definitely need them,” Semborski said. “We want to secure a good ranking spot through these next few games, and I think everybody is staying pretty hungry because we want to enter the postseason and then get a pretty decent spot.”
Stephen Godwin Jr. can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @StephenGodwinJr.