Club teams at Temple can sometimes go unnoticed, but the ice hockey squad is one that deserves recognition.
Last year, the Owls finished third in the Southeast Division of the Division II Mid-Atlantic Collegiate Hockey Association with a 17-9-1 record, missing nationals by just one game. With the team looking to improve from last season, it was up to the players when it came to offseason training.
“Due to ACHA rules and everything, I really can’t be with them, but a bunch of them got together every single week and trained for speed and agility,” coach Aaron Voegtli said. “They also shot pucks and lifted weights. They really got themselves in shape, and it is paying dividends because we would usually have problems with three game weekends, and we skated right through it this time.”
Voegtli expects his team to make it to the regional tournament again this year and hopefully, to the national tournament as well.
“We’ve got the depth to do it,” he said.
The Owls opened their 2008-2009 season on Sept. 26 with an away game against Penn. Senior forward and captain Mike Roeding netted three goals and senior goaltender Mark Berkheimer stopped 23 of 25 shots en route to a 7-2 victory. The next day, the team played its home opener against Rider at the Flyers Skate Zone. Junior forward Ryan Frain led the team with a hat trick, as the Owls cruised to a 13-3 win. Freshman goalie Morgan Ostendorff was solid in net, stopping 19 of 22 shots. Finally, the Owls met archrival William Paterson to conclude their opening weekend. The last time these two teams met, the contest turned into the second longest game in college history, as it lasted for more than two hours, with the Owls losing 3-2.
With that, the Cherry and White are looking for revenge and their first win over William Paterson in four meetings. Behind a hat trick from junior forward Chris Altomare, the Owls won 6-4.
“It felt good because they are nationally ranked and they are one of our biggest rivals, to put three on them it felt pretty nice,” Altomare said.
Berkheimer stood tall in the net and made 22 saves on 26 shots in the contest.
“It was huge going down there and beating those guys after they beat us the last three times” Berkheimer said.
The biggest game of the year for the Owls took place last Friday, as Penn came to town in the first-ever match-up between the two squads. The Owls rallied back from a 3-1 deficit to force a 3-3 tie with the Ice Lions. They pulled another comeback last Saturday, as they fought back from a 2-1 deficit to defeat the College of New Jersey 5-3.
Yet, setting all of that up is a story of its own.
The Owls compete at the Division II level in the MACHA Division. The team consists of 25 skaters and three goaltenders. They play against teams from local schools such as Saint Joseph’s, Villanova and Penn.
Since ice hockey is an expensive sport, the squad receives funds from Temple. The players are then responsible for making up the difference.
This year the team had an overall budget need of about $65,000. Campus Recreation allocated the hockey team $22,000. Campus Recreation receives a large sum each year from the General Activities Fee. The money is then split among all club teams depending on their financial needs. The allocation for the ice hockey team depends on referee and equipment costs, tournament fees and its past performances.
The focus remains on the ice, and with the Owls off to a 4-0-1 start, the team’s morale remains high.
They face off next with Seton Hall Friday at 8:30 p.m. at the Flyers Skate Zone in Northeast Philadelphia.
John Mehler can be reached at email@example.com.