The weight has finally been lifted for Patrick Golden.
Through 16 games this season, the second-year forward’s first goal of the season proved to be elusive.
The drought ended for Golden when he scored one of the team’s two power play goals in a 6-3 thrashing of division rival Rider on Nov. 7 at Loucks Ice Rink.
“It’s definitely a weight off my shoulders,” Golden said. “It felt good to get my first goal [of the season]. It definitely makes me feel a little more confident.”
The Owls traded goals with Rider throughout the first period, but Golden’s tap-in off forward Dave Brewer’s shot from the blue line gave the Owls a 3-2 lead after one period.
Temple pulled away late in the second period that was highlighted by Powell’s goal with 20 seconds left. Powell stole the puck in the neutral zone and beat two Rider defensemen to extend his team’s lead to 5-3.
“It was just the balance between all the lines,” O’Donnell said. “Steve Kennedy’s line got a couple, my line got a couple and even Steve Luongo’s line [was] getting in on the forecheck and creating opportunities.”
The game marked the return of Golden and captain Greg Malinowski, who missed the last two games with lower-body injuries.
“I don’t think it had any part in my not scoring,” Golden said. “I took the week off last week and kind of rested up. It only happened two or three weeks ago.”
The goal comes after numerous bad breaks for Golden that was most evident against Rowan on Oct. 4 in a 2-2 deadlock. Golden stole a puck in that game, raced up ice and fired a shot that clanged off the side post.
“I was frustrated because I felt like I had chances and I hit the post a couple times, but any game I would rather the team win than score three goals,” Golden said. “As long as were winning I’m happy.”
Coach Ryan Frain spoke highly of Golden because of his consistent effort he brings every night, despite Golden’s previous absence from the stat sheet.
“I love Pat,” Frain said. “I love the way he plays. He is a grinder. He just puts his head down and puts the work in. He never lets his frustration get to him. He does a really good job of coming back after a shift where things didn’t go his way and he’s right back focusing on the next shift on what he can do better.”
Golden endured similar struggles last season, when he scored just one goal in 15 games, but went on to finish the season with eight goals and four assists.
The boost happened when Golden was elevated to the top line with forwards Stephen Kennedy and Joe Pisko. Kennedy is the go-to-scorer on the line with 20 goals, but Golden still considers himself a shooter.
“I think Kennedy is one of the best players in the league so I try to set it up to him, but at the same time I am out there to shoot the puck,” Golden said. “I think we work pretty well together. Kennedy takes a lot of attention, which leaves me open a lot more.”
The two teams’ first matchup this season featured 54 combined penalty minutes, but Golden said he noticed a different game atmosphere.
“They seemed a little more laid back,” Golden said. “They kept it a little close, but I think the big factor was special teams and penalties. We had two power play goals and they didn’t.”
Temple is now 3-2 in the Mid-Atlantic North division with another critical matchup Saturday night against St. Joseph’s.
“It’s huge,” O’Donnell said. “I think they are ranked 11th and we’re ninth so we were favored to beat them. Ever since I have been a freshman here, all four years, we never been able to beat teams like Maryland or Rider twice.”
Stephen Godwin Jr. can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @StephenGodwinJr.