One shift in overtime is all the Owls needed.
Temple defenseman Chris Carnivale took a pass from forward Greg Malinowski after a Villanova Wildcats turnover and scored the winning goal to give the Owls a 4-3 victory over the Wildcats on Sept. 27 at the Class of 23 arena.
The win sends Temple to the championship game with Drexel Sunday at 2 p.m.
“Honestly it was a rush of excitement and disbelief,” Carnivale said. “I was just happy we ended up with the win.”
The game was sent to overtime on the stick of defenseman Patrick Hanrahan when he scored with 16 seconds left in regulation.
Temple coach Ryan Frain previously called a timeout and sent in the team of forwards Steve Kennedy, Malinowski, Dave Brewer, Brady O’Donnell, plus defenseman Hanrahan and Jason Lombardi.
“I just told the guys all we have to do is get possession of the puck, get into the offensive zone, work it around and try to get a good shot,” Frain said.
The play started after a penalty on Villanova gave the Owls had the faceoff in the Wildcats zone. After pulling goalie Eric Semborski the Owls had a six-on-four advantage.
Forward Steve Kennedy passed the puck to Hanrahan along the boards. Hanrahan took the puck in front of the net and saw that Malinowski and forward Dave Brewer were screening the Villanova goalie and Hanrahan’s shot trickled in the goal mouth.
“I was pretty pumped, but we knew the job wasn’t done,” Hanrahan said.
This was the first time the Owls were trailing in a game since they had controlled their first three games.
“The guys showed a lot of mental toughness and a lot of grit in battling back and that hard work kind of paid off,” Frain said.
Semborski was tagged with the three goals, but both Frain and Hanrahan credited Semborski for keeping the team in the game.
“He has been solid for us so far and he proved tonight that he can play in those big games,” Hanrahan said.
The Owls started out scoring on a Brewer chip in, but the Wildcats drew even with 7 minutes,31 seconds in the opening period. Kennedy scored on power play at the end of the period to give Temple a 2-1 lead.
Semborski was tested the most in the second period when the Wildcats changed their strategy to send two men to press the Temple defensemen. The two man press forced the Owls defenseman to make a quick play to get rid of the puck.
The result was momentum swinging to the Wildcats as they scored a couple goals off turnovers to give them the 3-2 lead.
“They did a good job,” Hanrahan said. “They were all over us in the second period. Our energy level wasn’t there.”
The Owls now move on to face the 41st ranked Drexel Dragons after they dispatched the University of Penn 9-2 in the earlier matchup.
Stephen Godwin Jr. can be reached at Stephen.firstname.lastname@example.org or Twitter @StephenGodwinJr