Temple entered the third period of Sunday’s 2017 Philadelphia College Hockey Showcase title game trailing by three goals.
The Owls notched goals from freshman forward Eric DiPretoro and junior forward Nick Van Allen in the game’s final six minutes to cut their deficit to one. But Temple couldn’t complete the comeback and fell, 5-4, to Drexel at Hatfield Ice in Colmar, Pennsylvania.
The Dragons outshot the Owls 46-40 and forced numerous turnovers.
“They had a lot of speed upfront,” said sophomore goaltender Ben Auerbach, who made 41 saves. “All three or four of their lines had speed and skill. Trying to match lines with them is difficult. They cycled the puck really well and their powerplay was very coordinated, very good. I think their communication level and their speed was what made it difficult for the guys today.”
Drexel increased its lead to 4-2 off a shot from forward Josh Sklar that found the left corner of the net 30 seconds into the third period. The Dragons added their fifth goal 11 minutes and one second later.
In the last six minutes of the contest, the Owls outshot the Dragons 8-3. They couldn’t replicate their rally from Saturday when they beat St. Joseph’s 7-5 on the strength of three goals in the final four minutes.
Junior forward Reid Betsker opened the scoring halfway through the first period to give the Owls a 1-0 lead. More than two minutes later, Eugene Lim tied the game for the Dragons off of a rebound in front of Temple’s net and a failed clear.
Drexel added two more goals within the first six minutes of the second period, including one that came off a redirect in front of Temple’s goal. The Dragons outshot the Owls 12-8 through the next 10 minutes of the second period.
Temple cut its deficit to two when freshman forward Luke Brzozowski scored through the five hole off a shot from the high slot to cut the deficit to 3-2.
Despite the loss, coach Mark Spease said he feels encouraged, especially because the team is young and has only been together for about three weeks. He added that the Owls are buying into the systems he is trying to implement and will continue to develop throughout the season.
Temple will now head on the road for back-to-back games in New York. The Owls will face the State University of New York at Oswego on Friday and Rochester Institute of Technology on Saturday.
In its games against St. Joseph’s and Drexel, Temple allowed 40-plus shots in each game. Spease wants his defense to be stingier.
“My goal is for us to be at 40 shots and for them to be at 30, and we didn’t do that well,” Spease said. “It would’ve been nice for the seniors, the two that we have, [to win the City 6 title]. But at the end of the day, we’re just trying to get ready for league play and I think we’re getting there.”