The line of Dave Brewer, Brady O’Donnell and Cody Vassa is clicking again for Temple’s ice hockey team.
The trio first joined together last season when they assembled in the second half of the season.
It translated itself immediately into game action when O’Donnell and Brewer each had a goal and an assist to power the Owls past division one ranked Penn State Berks in a 5-3 win on Sept. 21 at the Flyers Skate zone.
“I would say it is because we were able to get pucks deep into their zone and one of us would get behind the defense and send the puck to another person,” O’Donnell said about the unit’s success.
The Owls used a three-goal first period to jump on top of Berks and hang on at the end of the game.
The game also featured rookie forwards Devon Thomas and Joey Powell scoring their first goals as Owls. Frain said both players are going to see a lot of ice time, but he expects some production out of them as well.
Powell opened up the scoring for the Owls two minutes into the game when he was took a pass from forward Greg Malinowski and collected his own rebound for the goal.
“It felt good,” Powell said. “It was my first shift so I was all pumped up and I just got the puck in the front of the net and scored.”
The Owls ran their fore-check to perfection in the first period and ruled the time of puck possession.
A second goal came on the heels of Powell’s goal when O’Donnell was the benefactor of a Brewer dish.
The puck got dumped into the Penn State Berks zone by defenseman Chris Carnivale and Brewer got to the puck first to beat out two Penn State Berks defensemen. O’Donnell’s initial shot was blocked by Berks goalie Justin Golia, but it was rebounded by O’Donnell and flicked in for the goal.
Another goal came courtesy of the Owl’s talented line when O’Donnell chased down a puck behind Golia’s net. O’Donnell flung it out to Brewer who shot from the top of the key.
The game got chippy between the two teams when the Owl’s began the second period on the power play and were later awarded a five-on-three advantage.
The advantage almost turned into a nightmare when one of the Penn State Berks players burst into Temple’s zone with the puck.
A defenseman on the Owls feared the worst and dragged down his opponent while he was shooting.
Temple goalie Eric Semborski read the hazard all the way and turned aside rallying bid to keep Penn State Berks off the board.
The remainder of the Owls power play from the previous period proved ineffective, but a five-minute major penalty put them back on the advantage.
Malinowski had been tripped by Chad Neiss at center ice when Neiss stuck out his knee.
Forward Steve Kennedy looked to be having one of his quieter games, but once the situation became 4-on-4 he snapped off a shot to get it to 4-0.
Berks picked up another penalty and allowed Temple to go on another 5-on-3 advantage. The Owls had avoided disaster earlier in the game, but Jessie Abarca capitalized on a Temple mistake to score a short-handed goal.
Temple has struggled on the power play so far this season, but Frain is not worried.
“We are not finishing on all the chances that we are getting, but the puck possession is there,” Frain said.
Berk’s defenseman John Maliscaloco put on a late game clinic as he scored a few minutes later to get the score to 4-2.
As the game got closer Frain rotated in O’Donnell’s line every other shift.
Rookie forward Devon Thomas halted the rally when he capitalized on a three-on-two advantage and scored a shot past Golia for the 5-3 lead.
Berks answered right back moments later when Maliscaloco got his team close again with 1:58 minutes remaining.
The Owl’s defense held tight to the lead from there thanks in part to Berk’s own coaching decision.
Berks did not elect to pull their goalie with time winding down that was a move that baffled Frain.
“I was telling the guys ‘hey be aware because they are probably going to pull their goalie,’ but they never did which is very surprising to me.
The Owls have now scored nine goals in two games and the consensus between Frain and the player is that it stems from their fore-checking.
The Owls are now off till this Friday when they will play in the City 6 tournament hosted by Drexel University.
Stephen Godwin Jr. can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or twitter @StephenGodwinJr