Five players from both sides sat in their respective penalty boxes for the last four minutes of the game Saturday, following a fight in front of Delaware’s bench.
The scuffle resulted after a bad hit by Temple forward Patrick Golden. Multiple players were involved, including some Delaware players seated on the bench who threw a few punches into the pile of players.
The end result had Golden and Delaware forward Andrew Stern forced to their locker rooms prematurely.
The referee’s ruling was especially deadly for Temple, as the team’s penalty box consisted of forwards Stephen Kennedy, Joey Powell and Golden, along with defensemen Patrick Hanrahan and Jason Lombardi.
The peculiar sight was the product of a frustrating night for the Owls as they lost, 6-2, to the eighth-ranked Blue Hens Friday night at the Northeast Skate Zone.
“It’s just a bad hit,” coach Ryan Frain said. “It happens. … I didn’t really see it, but it is what it is. Whether it be our team or their team, they’re going to come to their player’s aid and that’s all that happened and things escalated. We were very frustrated. At the time were down 6-2.”
The Blue Hens built a 3-1 lead through the first two periods, but Temple climbed within one with 14 minutes left in the third period. Delaware answered a minute and a half later, and then added two more goals.
“[It] started from the drop of the puck,” Frain said. “Going into the second period we were obviously down 2-0 and [I’ve been] telling these guys all year that against teams that are ranked and have a good shot of making [the American Collegiate Hockey Association regional tournament], you can’t take shifts off, you can’t take periods off and we took the first period off.”
The most glaring part of the Owls loss was their 0-for-9 stat line on the power play. Temple’s offensive struggles did not subside on special teams as they gave up one short-handed goal and nearly surrendered another.
Delaware goalie Lewis Brotman stopped more than 40 shots, but the majority of them came from low-percentage scoring spots.
The effort on the offensive end came as a surprise to many in the home crowd, but Frain said he might have seen signs of this earlier in the week.
“I didn’t think we were at our best on Wednesday at practice to be honest with you, and I think it kind of translated tonight,” Frain said. “We definitely had a few very good chances [to score]. [The] goalie made a couple good saves and we hit a crossbar or two and that’s the way things are going to go some games. Their penalty kill, they pressured the puck and once they got it, they made smart plays and got the puck out of their own zone.”
The Blue Hen’s defense gave their offense multiple odd-man rushes on Temple goalie Eric Semborski. Three of the six goals scored on Semborski were in transition.
“I told them in between the second and third periods that we had to be smarter with our pinches [because] there were way too many odd-man rushes going the other way,” Frain said. “We got very lucky one the one where they took a penalty as they were going down ice and they actually scored on the odd-man rush. You know we preach the third guy high on our forecheck and that’s in order to alleviate the odd-man rushes going the other way against us and we just didn’t do a very good job of that tonight.”
Temple will play its last game of the calendar year against Rowan University on Sunday before going on a winter break. Its first contest off the break will pit the Owls against Georgetown on Jan. 25. With only five games remaining, Frain stresses the importance of the loss against Delaware.
“This was a huge weekend for us at the end of the semester,” Frain said. “We were playing the eighth-ranked team and [a fifth-ranked Rowan team]. Those are two games you need to have. [We] swept Rider and we swept Maryland and we beat Toledo, but people are always going to look at the fact that [Toledo] doubled our shots in that game and we won 3-2. The night before we lost 10-1. They’re not giving us the credit we deserve I think, but at the same time we’re not earning it. [An] overtime loss to Penn State [and we lost to Penn State up there 8-5], 6-2 loss to Delaware, 10-1 loss to Toledo. We really haven’t beaten anyone above us and that’ll hurt.”
Stephen Godwin Jr. can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @StephenGodwinJr.