With 16 minutes, 25 seconds left in the first period, Lafayette fired a snapshot past the Owls’ freshman goaltender Chris Mullen of the club ice hockey team to give the Leopards a 1-0 lead. It was the only time they would lead the whole game.
Owls’ senior forward Ryan Frain scored two goals, Mullen shut out the Leopards for two periods, and the Owls won the game, 4-1.
The Owls were losing for much of the first period, and two Temple minor penalties kept them on the defensive early. But with 5:30 left in the first, Frain executed a falling-down rebound goal off of his own shot. The Owls went into first intermission tied at 1-1 with nine shots-on-goal and weren’t satisfied with their first period effort.
“Our offensive strategy was just to put a lot of pressure on them, to dump the puck in,” senior forward George Rutter said. “For the first half of the game, we really didn’t execute offensively.”
In the second period, the Owls bounced back from their poor play. They seemed to stick to their offensive strategy better as they played more dump-and-chase and dominated puck control, but the Owls only had three shots in the first 10 minutes. It wasn’t until a Lafayette two-minute minor in the 15th minute gave the Owls a power play opportunity in which sophomore forward Charlie Sgrillo netted his first goal of the season. The Owls added another goal at the end of the period by junior forward Taylor Lockhart, giving the Owls a 3-1 lead.
“I think our speed was a contributing factor,” coach Jerry Roberts said. “It was the one thing we had over them that we were able to exploit.”
The Owls continued their dominance in the third period, where they outshot the Leopards 9-2. They increased their lead to 4-1 when Frain scored his second goal of the game, a power-play goal off a Lafayette two-minute minor for tripping.
“We moved the puck pretty well and our forecheck was pretty effective,” Roberts said.
The Owls closed out the game by frustrating Lafayette by maintaining possession and controlling the puck well.
“Defensively, it’s really just playing as a team,” Rutter said. “Everyone sticking their man and supporting everybody.”
Frain came just short of completing a hat trick late in the third, when he broke free into the Lafayette zone, but his backhand was denied by the Lafayette goaltender. The Owls won the game 4-1.
After a loss Sunday, the Owls now stand at 2-1 under second-year coach Roberts. Roberts is a Temple alumnus who played for the club team from 2003-2005 when it won three consecutive Mid-Atlantic Collegiate Hockey Association championships.
“I think the biggest thing we learned was the importance of team chemistry,” Roberts said. “We realized that that 21 guys coming out every night and buying into the game plan and wanting to work as a unit is far more important than just having the most talented players as possible, and it’s worked out in the long run.”
The Owls opened their season by beating Montclair State, a team that finished sixth in Nationals last year, and seem to be working well with their young head coach.
“Our mindset going forward is going to be to try to get these guys to fulfill their potential,” Roberts said. “Temple’s had a lot of talented teams for many seasons, but we always feel like we come up short. With these guys, it’s making sure they stay hungry every night and we’re consistently performing at the highest level we can, night in and night out.”
Joey Cranney can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Video by Breland Moore and Marjorie Thomas. Edited by Brittani Miller.