Ice hockey opens season with rout of Millersville

After a six-month layoff, the ice hockey team didn’t waste any time in putting the puck in the net Saturday.

The visiting Owls netted five goals in the first 11 minutes of play and held on to beat Millersville University 6-3 in the season opener.

Sophomore forward Brady O’Donnell kicked off the scoring five minutes in with a power play goal, and junior forward Steve Luongo followed suit 20 seconds later, netting his first goal in a Temple uniform to make it a 2-0 game. Freshman forward Cody Vassa also scored in his Temple debut, and junior forward Joe Pisko scored twice to make it a five goal game early on.

“We were possessed in those first 10 minutes,” coach Jerry Roberts said. “It was impressive. That was some of the best hockey I’ve seen from us in over a year. It was against an easier opponent but there was an intensity there that we haven’t seen in quite some time.”

Though the Owls got off to a fast start, Millersville began to take back some momentum in the game’s later stages, getting back to within three before the final horn.

“We started well and we kind of backed off a little,” senior defenseman Matt Benedetto said. “We let off the gas pedal and we do that sometimes. Last year and year before that, we would sometimes not go all out on a team that we should have dominated and that’s what happened today.”

“Ten minutes of high effort is not going to cut it in the tougher games,” Roberts said. “It’s natural to sit back with a big lead, but we started making mistakes that we can’t make. I’m sure they’ll recognize and correct those mistakes, they’re smart guys.”

Pisko scored twice as part of the top line with freshman forward Jason Marbaich and senior forward Chris Brennan. According to Roberts, that combination is one that has the potential to become a legitimate threat going forward.

“Their ability to play as a unit and to find each other is important,” Roberts said. “This was only the first game of the year. Give it a few weeks and they’re going to be something special. We haven’t had a line like that in a long time.”

“I thought our line did pretty well,” Pisko said. “It was pretty natural and we matched up well. I’m excited to see how it goes from here.”

Senior forward Sean Nealis capped the scoring for Temple five minutes into the second period to make it a 6-1 game, and junior goalie Chris Mullen held his own in preserving the Temple lead late with solid play in goal.

The Owls will take on The College of New Jersey Sept.21 for the home opener at Northeast Skatezone. Game time is set for 7:40 pm.

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