A long slap shot slid across the length of the ice and wound up in the opposite net on Wednesday night.
The challenge is a usual occurrence for the Temple ice hockey club as one player is picked to attempt the shot for each group of players before a series of suicide sprints. If the puck lands in the net, that group is spared the grueling drill, but if the shot misses the players precede to race down the ice.
A successful blast is usually followed with cheers, but at this practice session, the triumph was met with silence.
The team knows the seriousness of its situation. The Owls sit at 4-6 after losing six consecutive games, the last of which ended in an 11-6 rout to Penn State-Berks last Sunday.
“Sunday was tough,” Coach Ryan Frain said. “A lot of [nonsense] started happening and I think we started to lose focus. The [officials] let the game get out of control and I even lost my cool at moments during that time.”
Frain notes the five power play goals played a large role in the game’s unraveling.
“Things just fell apart quickly and we had lot of time when we were at a disadvantage,” Frain said. “Their power play was clicking that day, the stats speak for themselves.”
The loss caused Frain to give the players Monday night off from practice after the team traveled nearly 300 miles this past weekend.
“After a weekend like that it was probably a good idea to give those guys a night off and give them a rest and maybe catch up on some school work,” Frain said.
It’s still too early for a major overall on the team’s roster, but Frain say guys that are in and out of the lineup vary week to week.
“A lot of the top guys have their spots solidified as long as the effort is there and as long as they are playing smart hockey,” Frain said. “On a weekly basis I keep notice of guys that might be busting their hump that particular week in practice. I am going to look to get them in the lineup that upcoming weekend.”
The Owls will return to Northeast Skate Zone for a five-game home swing after enduring an eight-game road trip.
Frain said he is looking forward to returning to friendly confines, as he views it as a legitimate advantage.
“I always felt when I played that we played better at home just because you’re familiar with the rink and you kind of know the bounces,” Frain said. “I think these guys like it as well. There is more fans that come out and support these guys and you always feel comfortable at the rink.”
Temple will face Wagner Friday at 7:40 p.m. and Rider Saturday at 8 p.m.
The Owls participated in a number of drills that worked on their individual skills, but eventually worked into scrimmage drills.
Two plays that highlighted the scrimmages was a cross pass from forward Steve Kennedy to fellow forward Brady O’Donnell, who fired his shot past goalie Scott Salamon.
The memorable play from the defensive side was forward Alex Kempski’s take-down of forward David Pataki.
“I just wanted them to come out with the effort they showed tonight,” Frain said of his team. “As long as the effort and focus and discipline is there like it was [last] Saturday night against Navy that is the game we want them to play. We controlled play all game and we outshot them by 10 and I told those guys if they play like that they are not lose many games.”
Stephen Godwin Jr. can be reached at Stephen.firstname.lastname@example.org or twitter @StephenGodwinJr.