Temple (7-3-3) lost to Mid Atlantic North rival Rowan University on Friday night by a score of 5-2.
“It’s rough,” coach Ryan Frain said. “We kind of beat ourselves. I told our guys going into the game that this is how this team is year in and year out. They’re chippy, they’re fast, they’re small, they antagonize and they just get under your skin.”
It was clear from the start that it was going to be a physical contest, and with that physicality Temple came out of the gate strong dominating most of the possession while having several scoring chances to start the game.
But it was Rowan that struck first. In a scrum in front of the Owls net, senior goaltender Chris Mullen appeared to be pushed into the net with the puck by the Rowan attack. The goal stood though and Rowan took the 1-0 lead 6:32 into the contest.
As the physicality continued to increase, junior forward Stephen Kennedy was enticed into a penalty, and Rowan would capitalize on the ensuing power play with a pass from the blue line across the crease for an easy tip in goal with 9:40 left to play in the opening period.
Frain said that playing to Rowan’s game and getting enticed to committing penalties was what changed the momentum of the game.
“If you don’t keep your head and you’re not disciplined, you’re going to take dumb penalties like we did,” Frain said. “I think we only gave up the one power play goal but they took that momentum off of penalties and it just rolls for them and it’s tough to get back.”
The start of the second period didn’t start off well for the Owls either. The defense broke down and gave up an early breakaway chance but Mullen was there to answer with a blocker save.
Temple pulled within one when junior forward Pat Golden was sprung onto a breakaway from a pass from senior forward Joe Pisko. Golden buried his wrist shot, going five-hole to beat the Rowan goaltender.
“I was going to deke,” Golden said. “But I saw that his five-hole was wide open so I decided to bury it there.”
It was also Golden’s first collegiate goal as a Temple Owl.
“It felt real good,” Golden said. “Especially because it put us back in the game. It felt real good to finally contribute to the team. I was getting real frustrated to not score when I’ve had chances, so it was definitely probably the best feeling I’ve had so far this season.”
“Golden is a hell of a player,” Frain said. “He knows his role, gets pucks in deep, gets in on the forecheck and digs pucks out to the scorers on his line. It’s nice to finally get him up on the scoreboard and build his confidence a little bit more.”
Rowan would answer though and retake a two goal lead off of a rebound from a shot in the slot that Mullen could not handle with 5:22 left in the second.
With 2:52 left to play in the second, Temple would go on the power play and immediately capitalize with a goal to get back within one going into the third period. Sophomore forward and team captain Greg Malinowski took a slap shot from the point and had it deflected by Pisko, then lastly by sophomore forward Dave Brewer for the goal.
The third period was just as physical as the first two, but resulted only in two goals by Rowan, and then ultimately an empty net tally to ice the game for a 5-2 Rowan victory.
“We just weren’t as prepared as we thought we were,” Malinowski said. “We knew that it was going to be a chippy game based on all the other games we’ve had with them, and we just fed into it. They kept talking to us, and we just kept talking back.”
Another blow to the Owls, the team’s leading scorer Kennedy injured his hip at the end of the first period. After returning briefly in the second period, Kennedy was forced to sit out the rest of the game. He was sent to the hospital after the game and his status is unknown.
Up next for Temple is a home matchup against Penn State on Sunday at 1:40 p.m.