After losing two of its three games on the road two weekends ago, the ice hockey club team needed a win on the road against The College of New Jersey Saturday. The Owls (15-9-3) did just that, beating the Lions, 6-0, at Loucks Ice Center.
“With two losses, we had to win,” senior forward Jerry Roberts said. “This was a do-or-die game.”
The Owls needed the win to stabilize their postseason dreams. The team is currently ranked 10th in the Southeastern Division of the American Collegiate Hockey Association.
The top 10 teams in each of the four divisions qualify for the postseason, which begins Feb. 16.
To determine rankings, a committee looks at each team’s record as well as its strength of schedule. A team then receives a bid. The team with the lowest score is ranked first. Temple is one point away from No. 9 Dayton and has 11 points on No. 11 Princeton.
Junior defenseman Rob Hughes said he is confident the Owls can maintain their seed or possibly move up in the rankings.
“I think we’re looking good,” Hughes said. “We’ve never been ranked. We were 13th at the beginning of the season and now we’re 10th. I have high hopes for the playoffs.”
In two days, the Owls lost to No. 2 Wagner,
6-2, on Jan. 20 and to No. 8 William Patterson, 5-2, on Jan. 21. This Sunday, the Owls face Wagner again. Hughes said the team spent time last week focusing on how to improve its game against the Seahawks.
“It was a good week at practice,” Hughes said. “We focused on what we did wrong in the two losses. We still need to work on our passing and breaking out of our defensive zone.
“I’m sure we’re going to be able to compete
with Wagner.” After playing the Seahawks, the Owls then face Seton Hall, Penn and Saint Joseph’s to finish out the regular season.
Hughes said it’s especially important to beat the Quakers and the Hawks, teams he said the Owls are capable of knocking off.
“We need to stick to our game plan,” Hughes said. “We’re not a purely talented team – we just go into every game with a lot of heart. It’s important for us to come into every game ready.”
Roberts said the games against Seton Hall and Wagner are equally important.
“If we beat Seton Hall and Wagner, we’re in [the playoffs],” Roberts said. “We have 22 players on our bench that believe we can do it.” If the Owls do retain the No. 10 seed, it will be the first time they see postseason play since the 2004-05 season when they played their final season in the Delaware Valley Collegiate
Melissa DiPento can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.