Eric Semborski listens to heavy rock music before his games.
The pre-game ritual helps the goaltender focus on game day, but before the Owls rematch with the University of Toledo on Saturday night, which prevailed in a 10-1 blowout of the Owls the night before, Semborski got into his warm-ups early.
“It just pumps me up more than any other music,” Semborski said.
Semborski allowed seven goals in Friday night’s loss to Toledo, which sent him to the bench after 21 minutes in net.
On Saturday, though, an invigorated Semborski helped the Owls seize a much-needed 3-2 win over the Rockets courtesy of forward Stephen Kennedy’s third hat trick of the year at the Team Toledo Ice House.
“Semborski played out of his mind tonight,” coach Ryan Frain said. “I know he was frustrated after last night after being pulled after six or seven goals. He came to work tonight, and he delivered.”
Semborski’s adjustments were helped by the postgame talk after Friday’s game that concentrated on the changes the team had to make the next day.
“I think last night we just came out flat,” defenseman Patrick Hanrahan said. “We weren’t prepared to play. They came out hard and they came out fast, and today we were definitely prepared for today’s game. We came out and [brought] that game to them and played our style of play.”
The change in the Owls’ level of play was noticeable, and Frain said he saw it before they even hit the ice.
“The guys came out a totally different team tonight,” Frain said. “You could just tell even before they stepped on the ice they were more focused.”
Halfway through the third period, Kennedy recovered his own shot off the boards and scored the game-winning goal on Toledo goalie Zac Cherney.
“It was a huge hustle play and a goal-scorer’s goal,” Frain said. “You could just tell he was on a whole different level tonight.”
The Rockets were credited with having a strong forecheck the night before, but Temple’s quick circulation of the puck negated Toledo’s physical style of play in the rematch.
“We knew we had to get the puck out a lot quicker,” Hanrahan said. “We knew we couldn’t take too much time with the puck. We learned from our mistakes last night.”
Hanrahan was a part of an Owls’ defense that made life easier for Semborski after the protective unit surrendered 39 shots the night before.
“They were using their points well and were getting too many shots off,” Semborski said. “We did a better job today of taking away their lanes and blocking shots.”
This year’s second American Collegiate Hockey Association rankings are looming in the distance, and Frain said that it did cross his mind this afternoon.
“For ranking purposes, splitting with these guys was very big,” Frain said. “Coming out for two away games and getting the [win] today was huge, and you could tell [the players] wanted it bad.
The Owls are off until Friday when they take on Monmouth in another rematch at the Jersey Shore Arena at 8:30 p.m.
Stephen Godwin Jr. can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @StephenGodwinJr.
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