New coach, new season, new expectations

After what has been described as a disappointing 2012-13 season, in which they did not reach the playoffs, Temple has high expectations for next season.

Ryan Frain, the newly appointed head coach, is very optimistic about the upcoming season and is looking forward to his head coaching debut.

“Just a lot of excitement [heading into the season],” Frain said. “Being assistant coach for the last few years I think I’ve gotten the feel for what it’s going to take to be head coach. It’s really exciting to have the opportunity to be the head coach, it’s going to be pretty awesome to be a head coach at the age I am.”

“I know I’m still going to be pretty wet behind the ears but I think I know the game well enough to help myself and my team and be very successful,” Frain added.

SAM GRINNAN / TTN
SAM GRINNAN / TTN

“Successful” is something that the team has not been in recent years. The team has missed out on the playoffs the past two seasons. But the players said last year’s failure will motivate them to do better this season.

“[Last season] was more of a disappointment, and more of a wake-up call and growing and learning experience,” senior goaltender Chris Mullen said. “We had a young group of guys and lacked discipline which resulted in a disappointing season.”

The team has set a goal to once again make it back to the regional playoffs.

“With the people that we have coming back and some of the recruits we have coming in this year, my goal is to get to regionals,” Frain said. “It’s been kind of frustrating the last two years missing regional’s but I definitely am going to put in the effort in and the players will as well to maintain our goal and get back into regional’s and obviously just going from there.”

The Owls have lost a few key defensemen to graduation. Matt Benedetto was an anchor for the team’s defense last season. His presence was singled out by Frain as something that will be missed. Andrew Trainor was the team’s leading scorer among defensemen last season, tallying seven goals throughout the campaign. Jordan Lawrence was the team’s highest scoring defenseman last season, totaling 21 points from five goals and 16 assists. Lawrence’s offensive threat from the blue line will be tough to replace.

Temple is returning some key players, including sophomore forward Cody Vassa. As a freshman, the native of Catasauqua, Pa., led the team in points last season, scoring 15 goals and 20 assists totaling in his team leading 35 points. However, Vassa did lead the team in penalty minutes with 98. Vassa will need to stay on the score sheets and out of the penalty box.

Senior forward Joseph Pisko was the team’s leading goal scorer last season with 17. He added 10 assists to finish second in the team in scoring with 27 points. The native of Glenside, Pa., will look to have the same success heading into his senior season with the Owls.

Frain named sophomore defensemen Jason Lombardi and Patrick Hanrahan as players to watch for the upcoming season. With the losses of the defensemen mentioned above, defense is something that will be under a lot of pressure for this season. As freshmen, Lombardi and Hanrahan combined to play in 42 games last year, and the defensive pair is expected to see increased playing time this year. They will need to produce to help the team be effective on the blue line.

Samuel Matthews can be reached at samuel.matthews@temple.edu

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