Earlier this season, the ice hockey club team held Mid-Atlantic Collegiate Hockey Association conference rival Seton Hall scoreless in a 3-0 win.
When the Owls faced the Pirates again on Saturday night at the Skate Zone in Northeast Philadelphia, they realized that another victory would not be guaranteed.
Though it wasn’t a shutout, the Owls beat the Pirates, 5-4.
“This was a pretty bad win for us,” sophomore defenseman Rob Hughes said. “We should have scored a lot more on the opportunities we had.”
The Owls (7-8 MACHA) started the game with a quick goal from junior center Chris Mariello six minutes into the first period. Seton Hall fired back with a goal of its own four minutes later to tie the score.
Temple dominated the first period. Senior forwards Jeff Ebert and Shawn Lynch each scored late in the first period to put the Owls up, 3-1, before the first intermission.
The second period was an indicator that Owls needed to focus on scoring. They had three power play opportunities to score, but were unable to capitalize, said assistant coach Alex Luboff.
“Our power play was a little weak. We should have scored more power play goals,” he said. “Our penalty killing is what kept us in the game.”
With just over two minutes remaining in the period, Lynch notched his second goal of the night, giving the Owls a 4-1 advantage.
Their lead dropped to one goal, when the Pirates scored two goals by the 17-minute mark of the third period. One of the Pirates’ goals was on a power play. During that penalty, freshman forward Mike Roeding added a goal to the dwindling Temple lead.
The Owls were put at a huge disadvantage when a five-minute penalty was called on Mariello with 10 minutes remaining in regulation. Just 30 seconds prior, a two-minute penalty was called on sophomore defenseman Eric O’Neil. Both calls put the Owls in a binding 3-on-5 situation for 90 seconds.
When Temple got its fourth player back onto the ice, the Pirates found the back of the net. That was as close as the Pirates would come.
Luboff said the Owls’ problems against Seton Hall were turnovers and shooting. The final score, Luboff said, did not affirm that the Owls outshot the Pirates, 35-19.
“We dominated the game. We outshot them by a large margin, but the turnovers kept it a close game,” Luboff said.
With just four regular season games remaining on their schedule, the Owls know that every game counts.
The Owls have captured the Delaware Valley Collegiate Hockey Conference title for the last three years. At the start of this season, the Owls moved to the MACHA in search of stronger competition.
Assistant captain Jerry Roberts said he is optimistic about the looming playoff situation.
“Hopefully in the next few weeks we can pull [our game] together, piece by piece.
“And by the time the playoffs come, we’ll be ready to make a run for the championship,” Roberts said.
Luboff agreed, saying the Owls have a fair shot at a successful postseason run in a new conference.
“Right now we’re in the middle of the pack, which will put us in a playoff berth,” Luboff said. “The first couple teams get a bye, so we are trying to get the highest spot right now so we can play the weakest opponent.”
The Owls need to win out the remainder of their schedule, Hughes said, if they are to earn a strong postseason position.
“We need to win [each game] the rest of the season if we want a good playoff spot,” Hughes said. “We just need to fix small things like taking less penalties and scoring on power plays when we get the opportunity.”
Melissa DiPento can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.