The Owls (4-1-2) lost for the first time in regulation this season as they kicked off their back-to-back matchup in Virginia with a 5-2 loss to Liberty.
“To be honest I’m actually pretty proud of our effort,” coach Ryan Frain said. “Last night just wasn’t our night. The effort and the intensity was there but the bounces just weren’t going our way.”
Starting out periods strong has been a common theme that has plagued the Owls all season and last night was no different, giving up the game’s first goal in just three minutes and nine seconds of play. Another common plague for Temple has been closing out periods, and that too was no different last night. Liberty would again capitalize in the first, tallying its second goal with just 14 seconds remaining in the period to take a 2-0 lead going into the second period.
“It’s the mindset of playing a full 60 minutes,” Frain said. “Last night was a little bit of a different story. I thought we came out right from the jump and matched the intensity. The bounces just didn’t go our way.”
Midway through the second period the Owls were able to cut the lead in half as freshman forward Justin McKenney scored his first career goal as a Temple Owl.
“It felt great [to score],” McKenney said. “It’s been real tough trying to get the first one. I’m a real gritty player and that’s how I get my goals and it was amazing getting my first goal.”
Then once again, closing out periods has been a struggle for the Owls, as Liberty netted another goal with just 39 seconds left in the second period to retake a two goal lead and then scored again with just 15 seconds remaining in the period.
Junior defensemen Sean Ermigiotti scored in the third to cut the deficit in half again but it too late. Liberty would tack on an empty netter resulting in a 5-2 loss for Temple.
However, Frain was pleased with how his team battled.
“Overall I’m definitely proud of the way the guys played. I think they definitely put up a solid 60 minutes,” Frain said.
The Owls will get their chance right away to redeem themselves, as they will faceoff against Liberty in the second leg of this back-to-back matchup. The puck drops at 3 p.m..