The club ice hockey team picked up its best win of the season during break against UMBC.
The Owls skated into winter break with a record of 6-12, after a notable performance in the Mid-Atlantic Collegiate Hockey Association Showcase in Warwick, Pa.
One of those wins was against the University of Maryland-Baltimore Country, a top ranked team and favorite to go to nationals this year.
“That was probably the biggest statement we had all semester,” coach Jerry Roberts said. “It helps remind players what they are capable of when they play the right way.”
“It really brought everyone together,” junior forward Sean Nealis said. “We proved that we meant business and we were ready to turn the season around.”
Senior goalie Will Neifeld tallied 110-plus saves that weekend, and junior forward Chris Johnson and junior forward Joe Pisko, both had solid games which helped the Owls be successful.
“[Neifeld] stood on his head helping us with those wins,” senior forward and assistant captain Taylor Lockhart said.
Like the Philadelphia Flyers, the Owls also had the opportunity to participate in an outdoor game in the beginning of the New Year. While the game was not part of the regular season, it still counted towards rankings, and was an overall great experience for the team.
“The best part was that we came out flying,” Nealis said. “We controlled the game.”
Unlike the Flyers, Temple walked away with a 2-1 victory against Rowan.
The regular season started back up this past Friday, and the Owls went into the game swinging. After three solid periods of play, the Owls beat Delaware 5-1 with goals from senior forward George Rutter, Nealis, Johnson, Pisko and Lockhart.
This upcoming weekend, the Owls take to the road for a two-game road trip, Friday at Liberty and Saturday at Virginia Tech, a trip which will be a huge test for the team. Earlier in the season, both Liberty and Virginia Tech came to Philadelphia and beat Temple 4-1 and 3-1, respectively.
“It is going to be a big test for us,” Nealis said. “It’s going to be our chance to prove that the second semester is ours. The earlier loses were due to mental breakdowns, but we have a lot of confidence now.”
“We’re emphasizing simplicity this semester,” Roberts said. “If we work harder and smarter than out opponents, we’re going to be tough to beat.”
The Owls have seven regular season games remaining before the start of the MACHA playoffs.
“I can speak for everyone on the team that we wouldn’t give it up for anything,” Lockhart said. “Every player is ready to step up and leave nothing left in the tank at the end of the season. If we put in the work, we’ll be [in playoffs], and I think everyone is ready to do it.”
Samantha Grinnan can be reached at email@example.com.