After winning three of its last four games going into their winter break, Temple (9-12-2, 2-5 Eastern Collegiate Hockey Association) hoped the momentum they built up would continue.
An 8-1 loss at the hands of the William Paterson University (15-10-2) on Friday at the Ice Vault Arena in Wayne, New Jersey demonstrated otherwise.
“My biggest challenge right now is to get them back to where they were,” coach Mark Spease said. “Last night was no indication we’re there, so we’ve got work to do.”
The Pioneers came out firing from the drop of the puck, outshooting Temple 26-9 through the first period. The Pioneers cashed in on their 20th shot, a rebound put in by senior forward James Karp, who finished the game with a hat-trick.
Despite the shot disparity, Spease and the Owls were feeling confident after only being down one and standing tall against a top power-play unit in the Pioneers.
“It was only 1-0 after the first, we killed all three penalties, the penalty kill continues to be strong,” Spease said. “I thought we were in a good place.”
In the second period, sophomore goaltender Ben Auerbach could no longer withstand the onslaught of shots he faced. Less than a minute into the period, a deflection from freshman forward Mike King gave him his first goal of the season and widened the Pioneer’s lead to two.
Auerbach faced 25 shots in the second period with five sounding the horn, but coach Spease didn’t consider any bad goals against Auerbach. Karp scored William Paterson’s fifth goal of the period to extends its lead to 6-0.
“Ben was frustrated,” Spease said. “He played solid like he always does… I asked him if he wanted to go or take a breather, and I don’t blame him, he wanted a breather.”
Junior goaltender Zach Burkhardt started the third period and replaced Auerbach. He finished with 14 saves on 16 shots.
Freshman forward Brendan Ondick scored Temple’s only goal in the third period. He’s now tied with senior forward Joey Powell for first in goals with 16 on the season
Temple will travel to the Brad Boss Arena in Kingston, Rhode Island to face to the University of Rhode Island (15-10-2) for back-to-back games on Friday and Saturday.
But Spease said he’s also worried about Temple’s matchup on Sunday against Drexel (12-8) at the Flyers Skate Zone in Northeast Philadelphia. He added some of the younger players could get playing time against Rhode Island in order for the top lines to be rested for Temple’s game against Drexel.
“The league game is everything,” Spease said. “Going all the way to Rhode Island then having to play a league game Sunday, I think it’s a terrible scheduling decision.”