The defense tightened up, the starting goalie returned and the team was on home ice –but the result stayed the same. The club ice hockey team lost its 10th game in a row on Saturday night against Liberty.
The Owls lost 4-1 in the conference matchup to drop their record to 1-10 on the season.
“Our defense has tightened up but we need to score more goals,” coach Jerry Roberts said. “We’re not as skilled as we have been in the past so we need to get more dirty goals, crash the net and do whatever it takes to score.”
All-Conference senior goalie Will Neifeld returned after missing last weekend’s matchups for personal reasons and played well through the first period keeping Liberty off the scoreboard through the first 20 minutes. But the Owls’ offense was also held scoreless and the teams entered the first intermission tied. Liberty quickly changed that early in the second period with two quick goals, a power play and a short handed goal in the first six minutes that seemed to stun Temple.
“That was hard to recover from,” Roberts said. “I tell the team that games against good teams are usually decided in a five to seven minute window and you can definitely point at that span early in the second as the one that decided this one.”
A third Liberty goal halfway through the second period put the Owls in a deep hole and a lone power play goal by junior forward Joe Pisko wasn’t enough to spark the Owls’ offense.
The Owls were outshot 50-24 and Neifeld stopped 46 of 50 shots on goal he faced for the Cherry and White.
“Our defense has tightened up and is much more disciplined but our special teams play has killed us lately,” Roberts said. “We definitely need to fix some things on special teams to get better.”
Next up for the Owls is a matchup with 5-2 state rival Penn State Nittany Lions.
Roberts admitted that this is always a tough challenge on the schedule as Penn State has brought in bigger recruits since announcing its move to Division I Hockey.
“[Penn State is] extremely good and have four solid lines,” Roberts said. “We’re going to have to adjust and have more of a blue-collar, hard working mindset to beat them.”