The Owls will host three days of tryouts before Labor Day weekend, and two days of tryouts afterwards. The roster is expected to be finalized by Sept. 5 or 6. First-year head coach Ryan Frain said nobody has secured a spot on the team yet.
“I’m going to be honest,” Frain said. “It’s completely wide open. The past two seasons we’ve had some of our top players take a night off, and on the lower end of the depth chart, we’ve had some guys step up. Just because you’ve been on the team the past few years that doesn’t mean that you are going to make it this year. I don’t care who you are, top to bottom.”
“If I see a guy that is willing to work and do anything that it takes to make the team, I’d rather take him over some hot shot that wants to do it all himself and take all the glory,” Frain added. “So I guess we’ll just have to see who shows up at tryouts, and who’s willing to work for the spot.”
The Owls will start their season against the University of Maryland on Sept. 21. The drop of the puck will begin the era of Frain.
“In simple words, I’m very excited about the opportunity I’ve been given,” Frain said. “But I’m definitely nervous at the same time. I know the past two seasons kind have been mediocre at best, and I’ve put a lot on myself for this off-season, trying to prep as much as I can in order to put ourselves in the best position to win.”
Although Frain said that nobody’s position on the team is safe, based on of last year, it seems senior forward Joe Pisko and sophomore forward Cody Vassa have very good odds to return.
Vassa, a Catasauqua, Pa., native, led the Owls in scoring last year as a freshman, tallying 15 goals and 20 assists for a total of 35 points. Pisko finished second behind Vassa, scoring 27 points despite missing time due to injury. Although Frain has yet to name a captain for this season, he did hint that he has two forwards in mind as front runners for the ‘C’, so Pisko would fit that criteria.
Both Vassa and Pisko highlighted the season opener against Maryland as a big game to enact some revenge.
“That’s a big game for us because they knocked us out of playoffs last year,” Vassa said. “I’m pretty excited to get back on the ice and I definitely want to hand Maryland a loss for what happened last year.”
“Definitely Maryland,” Pisko said. “Just because of how things went last year, that was a big league loss for us.”
Pisko also highlighted University of Maryland – Baltimore County as a rivalry game. Temple will face off against UMBC back-to-back in a home-and-home series, first away on Jan. 18, then home the next day in Philadelphia.
“There are two former Temple coaches that transferred over to UMBC, and that kind of creates the whole rivalry, so it’s always a good battle between us and them,” Pisko said.
Frain, however, does not have any specific games that he has circled as big match-ups on this season’s schedule. He would rather focus on the season as a whole.
“[The team] can circle their games that they are looking forward too, but I want to circle the whole season,” Frain said. “Because guess what? In this league you can’t take nights off. None of these guys are going to lie over and die, each team is going to work. I want our guys to show up night in and night out and give 120 percent no matter who we play.”
With the season beginning in less than a month, the Owls will look to start strong, with the hopes of getting something they haven’t earned in either of the past two seasons: a playoff berth.
Samuel Matthews can be reached at email@example.com.