The ice hockey club team is off to a 7-4 start, and their 4-2 record in league play is good enough for third place in the Mid-Atlantic Collegiate Hockey Association.
Their success can be attributed to the play of linemates Chris Mariello, Jeff Ebert and Mike Roeding. In particular, Mariello, a junior finance major, is off to a torrid pace, with five goals and nine assists.
As assistant captain Jerry Roberts pointed out, the way Mariello approaches each game has a resounding impact on the team.
“Chris has been leading by example,” Roberts said. “He has been showing everybody by his play, the sacrifices that it takes to help the team through the transition [from the Delaware Valley Collegiate Hockey Conference, the Owls’ old conference, to the MACHA]. He plays every night, which is important because we are playing better teams this year. You know that you are getting 100 percent from him every night.”
Mariello, also an assistant captain, was quick to deflect the praise. He said the play of his linemates allows him to have the success he has had so far.
“I have been playing with Jeff [Ebert] for the last year, so we have pretty good chemistry on the ice,” Mariello said. “Mike [Roeding], is a new addition as a freshman, but he gets out on the ice and knocks some bodies around. He helps create the ice for Jeff and I to do different things.”
When asked to think of a moment to define Mariello’s evolution as a player, Roberts immediately recalled last season’s DVCHC Championship against Saint Joseph’s.
“In the finals against St. Joe’s last year, his line completely manhandled St. Joe’s, and he has never looked back,” Roberts said. “I think the series made him more of a complete player. He came out and has played this season just like he had in that series. He was able to keep it going right from the get-go, and it has been fun this season so far.”
A chance opportunity is the only reason Mariello is even playing ice hockey at Temple, as he was reluctant to try out until persuaded by a friend. It may be that same reluctance that allows for Mariello to share the scoring spotlight.
“Chris has matured a lot as a player since playing a lot as a freshman three years ago,” Roberts said. “There are no rookie mistakes [left] in his game, and he knows how to share the puck. He doesn’t just score. He has been able to help other people score, which is important for the success of the team to continue.”
On Friday, the Owls head to New Jersey, where they will take on second-place Princeton. The next day, they battle cross-city foe Penn at the Northeast Skate Zone.
Kevin Maloney can be reached at Kevmaloney33@yahoo.com.