After losing their season opener Saturday night to Maryland 6-5 in overtime, ice hockey came right back to win Sunday’s home opener against Montclair State, once again by the score of 6-5 and once again in overtime.
“It feels good,” head coach Ryan Frain said. “Very good actually, I’m really excited and was glad to see a lot of fight out of these guys for having to battle back in both games. We got our first ‘W’ and were moving forward. We’ve got practice tomorrow night and we’ll be right back at it next weekend.”
To start the game however, Temple came out very flat, and Montclair took full advantage. The Red Hawk’s dominated the Owls all period and Temple did not play well. The play was sloppy and the Owls turned the puck over constantly, leading to the Red Hawk’s more than doubling the Owls shot total 16 to 7, and took a 2-0 lead going into the start of the second period.
Temple came out strong to start the second period though, playing much more crisp and much more to the Ryan Frain style of quick, hard-hitting, physical play. As the physicality increased the tide began to turn Temple’s way and the Owls were able to use their physical play to entice Montclair into committing penalties. After drawing a hooking penalty, junior forward Stephen Kennedy brought the Owls within one with a power play goal on a slick backhand shot. Not too much longer after, the Owls drew another penalty and sophomore defensemen Jason Lombardi netted another power play goal tying up the score at 2-2.
In the last 34 seconds of the second period, sophomore forward Greg Malinowski deflected a shot by senior forward Nick McMahon, past the Montclair goaltender for a 3-2 Temple lead going into third period.
With the lead to start the third, the Owls once again came out flat to start the period and Montclair capitalized again, scoring two goals in the first two minutes of the third period to retake the lead.
Yet, once again Temple showed perseverance as Malinowski scored his second of the night once again coming from a rebound from another McMahon shot with 16:24 left in the third period to tie the game again.
With 4:51 left in third the momentum shift back again to Montclair as they retook the lead for the third time, yet once again Temple responded with an equalizing goal from Brady O’Donnell just 28 seconds later. The seesaw battle continued.
For the second time in consecutive nights the Owls went into overtime. This time though it was Temple that came out on top as Kennedy slide home his second of the night in a scrum in front of the net for the game winner.
“Montclair fumbled it in the corner,” Kennedy said. “I picked it up and tried to throw it at the net but it hit a body in front and fell right in front of me so I just kind of swung at it and it went through. I was just happy to get a win. It’s exciting to get our first win.”
Temple was able to secure the victory, despite being outshot by the Red Hawks by nearly 20 shots.
“Our defensive zone coverage was just out of whack,” Frain said. “It’s something I’ve already stressed to these guys after the game. We need to cut down on the shots against.”
Senior goaltender Chris Mullen saw 49 shots throughout the game and turned aside 45 of them in what was a solid showing throughout by the native of Havertown Pa.,
“When there’s that many shots it’s good for the stats,” Mullen said with a laugh. “But that’s about it, it wears you down after awhile and obviously they outshot us pretty good.”
Up next for Temple, they will travel to Villanova to take on the Wildcats in a 7:35 p.m. Saturday night contest.
Samuel matthews can be reached at email@example.com.