Last season, the ice hockey club scored double digits once all season. This year, they’ve already done it twice.
Temple scored 10 goals in a game against Lehigh and 11 in one at St. Joe’s.
“We have a really talented group up front,” coach Ryan Frain said. “And it all comes from the defense as well too. We have been having a lot of production not just from the offense but from the defense putting up some points as well.”
With their 58 goals this season, the Owls are averaging 4.83 goals per game. In the team’s first 12 games, it has scored less than three goals three times.
“It started in tryouts,” Frain said. “We wanted to emphasize proper shooting techniques, and we work a lot with that in practice. Keeping your head up and picking a spot behind the goalie, whether it’s the corners or top blocker, top glove, and then actually shooting to score, ripping the puck at the net and basically just trying to put it through the goalie.”
“That’s the way I was taught how to shoot when I played and I’ve been trying to relay it to these guys and I feel like it’s working,” Frain added.
Points wise, junior forwards Stephen Kennedy and Brady O’Donnell, and sophomore forward Cody Vassa have been the teams’ most effective line all season and are the teams’ top three scorers. Kennedy leads the team with 24 points, followed by Vassa with 16, and O’Donnell with 12.
“The goal scoring has been exceptional so far,” senior forward Joe Pisko said. “We have a couple lines gelling nicely together, in particular the Kennedy, Vassa, O’Donnell line. Line pairing and chemistry are important in this game and it has been working out well for us on the scoreboard so far.”
“That line has kind of been the top story of the year for us so far,” Frain said. “It started out in tryouts and you could just tell right from the get-go that they understood each other and how they played. It’s nice to watch when you’re on the bench how much pressure they can sustain in the offensive zone.”
Kennedy had a simpler explanation for the line’s success.
“We’re just hungry,” Kennedy said. “We like to establish fore-check down low and pepper the goaltender.”
But it’s not just the Kennedy line that can put up points for the Owls.
“It’s not just them,” Frain said. “Yes, they’ve been the highest producing line, but all the other lines can score just as much and pick up the slack if maybe [the Kennedy line] is having an off night.”
“We are a really deep team,” sophomore forward and team captain Greg Malinowski said. “Every line can score which gives everyone time to rest in between shifts and gather their thoughts.”
Malinowski is fourth on the team in scoring with six goals and four assists for 10 points.
“We have a lot of depth,” Frain said. “It definitely doesn’t hurt to have guys that can step up. If guys need to be out of the lineup one night for whatever reason or an injury, our team won’t falter off.”
Having a roster filled with talent sometimes makes things difficult, however.
“It makes my job harder when I have to take guys in and out of the lineup because a lot of kids on this team have a ton of talent,” Frain said with a laugh, adding that it’s a good problem to have.
Samuel Matthews can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter@SJMatthews13.