After a win in overtime fashion against Montclair State University Saturday night, the ice hockey club turned right around to play a top ACHA Division II team in Penn State University, and came up just short, on Sunday.
Temple fell 4-3 to Penn State in a game that was still up for grabs until the horn sounded.
“We played 60 minutes and we hung tight,” coach Jerry Roberts said. “Even when there were times things were looking tough, we kept fighting and pushing and at no point did we give in. That’s a huge improvement over last year and that’s going to carry us very far.”
After Penn State grabbed a one-goal lead midway through the first period, freshman forward Jayson Marbach got one on his own with a series of nifty moves to get around a Penn State defenseman and fired the puck into the left side of the net to knot the game at one.
“I’m not sure what their defenseman was doing but he gave me some room,” Marbach said. “I got around him and fanned on the shot a little bit, but I got it in.”
The forward line of Marbach, junior Joe Pisko and senior Chris Brennan was only getting started.
After Marbach got the puck to Brennan, Brennan passed it across the crease right to the stick of Pisko, who lifted it up and in to make it a 2-2 game.
After Penn State netted two unanswered goals and held a 4-2 lead midway through the third period, Brennan fired a wrist shot past Penn State goalie Ryan Demuth to pull Temple within one, 4-3.
Although Temple never did put another one past Demuth, the overall mood from the team postgame had a positive ring to it.
“I was really proud of the way we handled the game,” senior defenseman Jordan Lawrence said. “We were coming off of an emotional game last night and we had a less than 12-hour turnaround tonight against one of the top teams in the region. I was really proud of the way we responded.”
“We kept them to what we feel is a good number of shots,” Roberts said. “They had 8 goals Friday and 12 goals last night. We held them to four goals tonight. We would’ve liked to have gotten the win, but we’re holding our heads up high after today and this weekend. It would be hard to find a better weekend than this one.”
Despite letting up four goals, junior goalie Chris Mullen stood out for the second consecutive game in goal, making several saves on point blank opportunities. He also lit up the crowd at Northeast Skatezone with a series of acrobatic stops to preserve a tie as time expired in the first period, and walked off to a standing ovation.
“[Mullen] has completely erased any potential goalie controversy this year,” Roberts said. “He’s embraced that No. 1 spot. He’s made the statement to everyone that it’s his net.”
Temple fell to 4-1 after the loss, and Penn State improved to 3-0.
Lawrence said there is still plenty to take away after a hard fought effort that didn’t result in a win.
“A lot of people that talk about how good they are,” Lawrence said. “We want to gain respect and this was the way to gain respect. Obviously we didn’t play well enough because we didn’t win, and we’re not satisfied. We don’t look at this game as a win at all, but we’ll take a lot of positives from it and we know that we can play with anybody. This was the proof of it today.”
Andrew Parent can be reached at email@example.com or on twitter @daParent93