Owls hurting in early season

Early on, the Owls’ ice hockey team is hurting.

Injuries have contributed to Temple’s 3-7 start to the season

Ryan Dumbach sat in the doctor’s office at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital on Oct. 15, calmly awaiting news he already predicted.

The sophomore defenseman suspected his hand was broken from a slashing incident Oct. 2 against the University of Pittsburgh, but he went to get X-rays to be certain. The doctor confirmed Dumbach’s fears and gave Dumbach a four to six week time recovery time.

“That was definitely hard to hear for myself, just because you want to be out there to help the team,” Dumbach said. “Hopefully, I can get out there as soon as possible.”

Injuries have marred the Owls’ season through 10 games, as seven players have missed a combined 36 games. UPDATE SUNDAY Four of the seven injured players are defensemen and sophomore goalie Scott Salamon missed four games with a concussion he suffered Oct. 9 against Lehigh University.

“We don’t have the luxury of having scratches to change up the lines other than just switching up the lines because everyone who isn’t playing is hurt,” junior forward Matt Krulikowski said. “I think we had one game [last] weekend when we were able to fill out the full roster.”

The Owls moved to the Division 1 level of the Eastern Collegiate Hockey Association this season. Last season, while at the Division 2 level of the ECHA, the Owls played seven games against Division 1 opponents. Temple has 26 Division 1 opponents on its 2015-16 schedule.

“It’s a tougher level to jump up to Division 1,” Krulikowski said. “The game is a lot more physical. Last year, we had a flipped schedule between Division 1 and Division 2 teams. It’s a lot tougher and a bigger toll to put on your body.”

Krulikowski, who suffered an upper body injury in the team’s season opener Sept. 25 against Drexel, was set to miss two weeks but soreness pushed him to miss seven games.

“It was kind of tough because I couldn’t play my complete game out there,” Krulikowski said last week referencing the team’s games Oct. 17 and 18. “I couldn’t really make hits. I have to try and avoid contact as best I can. Once I am fully healed, I will be able to use my body a lot more and lay some bigger hits and win some battles in the corners.”

Defenseman John Anthony, who joined the team in 2013, popped his shoulder out of place during Temple’s Oct. 2 game against Pittsburgh. The following week, X-rays showed Anthony had a torn labrum that required season-ending surgery.

“It’s definitely tougher to see because John’s had a hard route here,” Dumbach said. “He works harder than anybody. He’s definitely somebody that I look up to as far as trying to learn his workout routine. It’s definitely a tough loss because it’s more than just on the ice as a player.”

The injuries have forced coach Roman Bussetti to juggle his lines. Senior forward Stephen Kennedy and junior forward Joey Powell, are the team’s only constant pairing as the rest of the lines are forced to mix and match.

“It affects the offense a little bit more because they have to be insync with one another,” senior defenseman Patrick Hanrahan said. “If they’re playing together well, its usually because its based on chemistry a lot of the time. Defensively, I’ve had four or five different defensive partners already this year.”

Stephen Godwin Jr can be reached at stephen.godwin@temple.edu or on Twitter @StephenGodwinJr.

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