Two flat and penalty-laden periods had the Owls trailing Saturday’s Mid-Atlantic Collegiate Hockey Association matchup between Temple’s ice hockey club and St. Joseph’s 2-1 heading into the final 20 minutes.
Yet it was Temple coming out on top when freshman forward Cody Vassa netted the game-winner in overtime to send the Owls to a 4-3 OT win.
“It’s pretty exciting,” Vassa said. “To come back and win like we did tonight is always a positive.”
Vassa knocked in the resulting rebound off a senior defenseman Sean Ermigotti shot to end what was classified by all as a chippy game from start to finish.
Temple was slapped with three 10-minute misconducts and a game misconduct in the second period as freshman forward Jayson Marbach was tossed mid-way through the second period after an alleged elbow to the head of a St. Joe’s skater.
“The [official] said that [Marbach] made contact with his elbow to the player’s head and in the rulebook that’s an automatic five minute major and a game misconduct,” coach Jerry Roberts said.“I haven’t seen the video yet so I’ll wait until I see it to pass judgment.”
“The refs derailed us in the second period, but it is what it is,” Roberts added. “Spending that much time in the box in the second really threw us off.”
Temple (12-6) played much of the second period shorthanded, having to fight off a Hawks 5-on-3 power play that lasted nearly four minutes due to the five-minute major to Marbach and three minor penalties picked up along the way.
“We were pretty gassed after that,” senior defenseman Andrew Trainor said.“I know I played three and a half minutes out there, and we were pretty tired. We just settled down and handled our assignments the right way and every chance we got we were able to get the puck down the ice and kill time off the clock.”
Sophomore goalie Eric Semborski filled in for typical-starter Chris Mullen Saturday night, as Mullen was given the night off. Semborski came up big in several shorthanded spots when the Owls needed it.
“There were a couple goals let in that he would normally have saved,” Roberts said.“But he stepped up to the plate in shorthanded situations and really bailed us out a couple times when we needed it.”
The extended time away from five-on-five hockey certainly hurt Temple in a period where the Owls were trying to make up for a flat first period that saw St. Joes take a 1-0 lead and pick up some early momentum.
“There are some nights when everything is clicking and going well and there are others where nothing goes right and tonight was the latter of the two,” Roberts said.“Nothing felt right about this game from the warm-ups to the way we started the first period. Tonightwas definitely a challenge.”
A game-tying goal with 12:33 left in the third period courtesy of junior forward Joe Pisko gave the Owls life, and sure enough freshman forward Dave Brewer put Temple out in front 28 seconds later with a tally of his own. The Hawks (3-9-1) then tied it one minute later to set up Vassa’s OT heroics.
Shots were 35-26 in favor of Temple. With the win, the Owls improve to 3-3 in MACHA play while the Hawks dropped to 0-4 in conference play. Temple also extended its winning streak to four games.
Temple will play New York University on the road tomorrow at 5:30 p.m.
“We kept our winning streak alive and got a ‘W’ out of it, but at the same time we didn’t play Temple ice hockey today,” Trainor said.“If we come in tomorrow against [NYU] with the same attitude and play that we did [Saturday], it’s going to get really ugly really quick so we have to work on that.”
Andrew Parent can be reached at email@example.com or on twitter @daParent93.