The third period is becoming something of intrigue for the Owls since they have returned to the Northeast Skate Zone.
The night before Temple engaged Wagner in a physical contest featuring 54 combined penalty minutes.
An encore performance came with two more goals and an assist from forward Steve Kennedy in a 5-4 win over Rider Saturday night.
The Owls built a two-goal lead midway through the third period before Rider clawed back to tie the game with 6 minutes, 53 seconds still to play.
Kennedy then weaved his way through opposing players and buried a wrist shot on Rider goalie Nate Kholodenko with 3:15 remaining.
“It was bouncing so I just wanted to get it flat so at least it was a hard shot and I saw someone screening to the right so I just wanted to get it to the left,” Kennedy said. “[Forward Joey Powell] got it to me from the corner and I just wanted to get it on net. I didn’t think it was going to go through completely, but credit is to Joey for getting the puck out.”
Temple captain Greg Malinowski was out of the lineup with a groin injury for the divisional matchup, but was active on the team’s bench.
“Greg is a character,” Frain said. “He is a team player and wants to be around these guys. He tried suiting up just to see if he could play through the pain, but I told him I didn’t want him injuring it any further.
The Owls previously built a two-goal lead in the first 10 minutes of the first period when forwards Brady O’ Donnell and Devon Thomas scored minutes apart.
Rider answered with two goals of its own 40 seconds apart in the second period from rushes off the faceoff.
Owls’ defenseman Patrick Hanrahan responded when he scored on a slap shot from Rider’s blue line to retake the lead. It was Hanrahan’s second straight night with a goal.
Temple was getting outshot 26-16 early in the frame, but the Owls countered with their forecheck and forced Rider into numerous icings.
“We were running our system the right way and it carried over into decreasing their shots and increasing ours,” Hanrahan said.
Temple totaled eight penalty minutes, while Rider racked up 25 minutes.
Most of Rider’s penalty minutes sprung from its violent play in the beginning of the third period.
Two minutes in, Temple defenseman Alex Wizna was leveled by Rider defenseman Connor Fox. Fox was ejected and Wizna headed off ice for precautionary reasons.
Rider’s physical play garnered three more penalties that left multiple Temple players on the ground and a lengthy 5-on-3 disadvantage.
The effects from the Rider players left the Owls in similar positions, but Frain said he doesn’t buy the possibility of their diving.
“Those kids are tough kids,” Frain said. “I don’t think they would dive for something like that. They are out there battling and [crap] like that happens.”
The penalty kill of Rider nearly survived the handicap, but with just more than a minute remaining on the game misconduct Kennedy scored his first goal.
Another penalty followed, but a misplay of a clearing puck led to Hanrahan and Rider center Max Daley selling out for the loose puck.
Temple goalie Eric Semborski gathered the puck and attempted to pass it back up ice, but Daley recovered and scored on the unsuspecting goaltender.
“I thought I had it and I thought the Rider player was down,” Semborski said. “Kennedy was calling for the puck so I stood up without looking where the player was and he got up next to me and put it in. It was just not a smart play on my part and I will take it and learn from it.”
The subsequent pressure from Rider forced Temple into a penalty. Rider was able to capitalize on the resulting power play setting the stage for Kennedy’s heroics.
Temple is off until this Friday when they face off with Maryland in a rematch at 7:40 p.m.
Stephen Godwin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @StephenGodwinJr.