After an Atlantic Collegiate Hockey Association Division II showcase that featured a four-game weekend schedule, Temple ice hockey salvaged wins in three of them.
The Owls first knocked off Wagner in a shootout Friday, Oct. 5 by an 8-5 score, and also defeated Texas State 9-3 a day later. The scoring onslaught continued with a 7-3 win against East Carolina University Sunday, Oct. 7. Siena handed Temple its only loss of the weekend with a 4-1 defeat Friday, Oct. 5.
Friday’s contest with Wagner saw six Owls score goals, including senior forward Sean Nealis, who netted his first two goals of the season after leading the team in goals a year ago.
Siena proved to be too much for Temple, tacking on a pair of late goals in the third to seal the win. Freshman forward Jayson Marbach netted the only goal for the Owls.
After a schedule change had Temple facing Texas State instead of the originally scheduled Marist College, the Owls came back from an early 2-0 hole in an eventual blowout of the Bobcats Saturday.
Freshman forward Dave Brewer provided the highlight when he netted a hat trick for his first goals in a Temple uniform. Nealis also added another pair of goals.
“[Brewer] is by far our most underrated player,” coach Jerry Roberts said. “It was nice to see him get some recognition with the hat trick [Saturday] and we really plan on him being a big part of offensive core the next few years.”
Temple (7-2) then came into their match-up with East Carolina having already played three games over a two-day span, and it showed early on when the Pirates jumped out to a 2-0 lead.
“We didn’t have a whole lot of jump in our step and they outworked us in that first period,” Roberts said. “With being on the road and playing an awkward schedule, it took us longer to get into the game.”
After pulling even at two apiece in the second period with goals from junior forward Joe Pisko and freshman forward Cody Vassa, the Owls came out with new life in the final period. The Owls dominated the period with five unanswered goals to knock off the Pirates.
“In the first period we came out a little flat,” senior defenseman Jordan Lawrence said. “That’s something that can happen when you play four games in three days. Our biggest adjustment was not worrying about [East Carolina]. We had good contributions from guys who stepped up.”
Of the five Temple tallies in the game’s final period, three of them were courtesy of Pisko. The junior had four on the night and is Temple’s leading scorer with 10 goals in nine games.
“We feel like we finally have him playing in the right spot and playing with the right people,” Roberts said. “He’s not missing a whole lot. This is the best he’s been in his time at Temple.”
“I knew I had to step up tonight and help the offense out,” Pisko said. “I was able to get pucks my way and put them on net.”
Heading into the weekend, line mates Nealis and Brewer both had yet to score a goal. When all was said and done in Rockville, Md., they had four apiece.
Those two along with senior forward Chris Johnson made for a formidable line throughout the weekend.
“That line as a whole is starting to gel,” Roberts said. “You can tell that the jitters they had early on are all behind them. They’re getting into mid-season form.”
“We’re getting used to each other,” Brewer said. “We actually know each other now and it’s starting to show on the ice.”
The Owls will look to continue their winning ways when they travel to division rival Rowan University Saturday, Oct. 13.
The puck is set to drop at 8:15 p.m.
“We know who we can play with,” Lawrence said. “They beat us two or three times last year and that’s definitely a motivation for us. They’ve given us problems in the past and they’re a good team.
“I think we’ll transition well,” Lawrence added. “A couple of guys didn’t make the trip this weekend for school reasons and I think we’ll be stronger next weekend. I think we’ll be fine.”
Andrew Parent can be reached at email@example.com or on twitter @daParent93.