Ryan Frain could feel the nerves building.
Temple’s contest with St. Joseph’s Friday night was starting to spiral out of control as penalties began to mount and bickering populated the bench. The Hawks had come back from a shutout score to pull within 6-3 in the third period.
Frain’s tension culminated in a timeout midway through the third period after a nudging by goalie coach Ted Wood, and a profanity-laced tirade ensued as Temple’s second-year coach tried to wake up his team to finish off the Hawks.
“[There were] a few penalties in a row, some bickering on the bench between teammates, and obviously the lack of effort that was being put forth for close to 30 minutes at that point,” Frain said. “At that point, the nerves were just building in me and I just needed to let them know how the coaching staff felt, and it was unacceptable, the effort being put forth and what was going on the bench between guys.”
The Owls responded with three goals in 3 minutes, 28 seconds to end the Hawk’s rally and capped a 10-3 win at the Northeast Skate Zone.
“It was something we definitely needed,” forward Dave Brewer said. “We all had our heads in our [butts]. We were arguing on the bench and stuff like that. We can’t have that. We’re a team, a family. We can’t be arguing with each other. It’s not going to help anything. It’s a little adversity and we still won the game, we just can’t have that between us, we have to work together as a unit.”
Brewer led the way with two goals and three assists to help his team clinch its spot in the Mid-Atlantic Collegiate Hockey Association playoffs.
Brewer scored his two goals in the Owls’ six-goal first period. Temple also had a 29-2 shot differential and put 14 shots on net before St. Joe’s could crack one on a power play.
“We were pretty embarrassed the last time,” Brewer said. “This is a team we should whop up on, but we kind of just used it as motivation for tonight. We try to get up for these games you know you’re going to win, but we kind of just used that as motivation. We tried to put 10 up and we did.”
Things fell apart for the Owls from there when the Hawks scored on a power play goal 1:18 into the second period.
“I don’t know what the [heck] happened in the second period,” Frain said. “Basically [we] just went through the motions. [We] took two penalties, let up two power play goals and let the hype back in the game.”
St. Joe’s proceeded to outshoot the Owls in the period and soon tacked on a shorthanded goal at the start of the third period.
“I think we got too far ahead of ourselves,” Brewer said. “We scored six in the first and I think we had 29 shots on goal. I think everyone just had the mentality, ‘Well it’s over.’ Everyone kind of had that attitude a lot and it showed. In the second period they scored two goals and I think we only had like 12 shots or something.
“That starts with us as players,” Brewer added. “We can’t take a period off. We took a 20-minute period off and only played 40 minutes. That’s not going to work against a good team like [Drexel and Rowan universities]. We’re not going to be able to win with that.”
After the timeout, a few Temple blue-liners put loud checks on three of the Hawks to set the tone for the rest of the game.
“Everyone kind of knew individually what we needed to do,” Brewer said. “But I think we just needed to be told, ‘Pick it up, stop being idiots and get our heads out of our [butts] basically, and get back to our game instead of playing like individuals.”
Stephen Godwin Jr. can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @StephenGodwinJr.