Owls squeeze past Wildcats

Temple beat Villanova 4-3 in the third game of the season.

For the second time in back-to-back games, the Owls have been outshot by their opponents by a 2:1 ratio, and for the second time in back to back games, they have won—narrowly.

Every contest in this early season has been decided by one goal, and Saturday’s game, away at Villanova, was no different as the Owls won by the score of 4-3.

Villanova opened up the scoring early, netting the first goal of the contest in only 2:45 of play. 10 minutes later though, Owls junior Stephen Kennedy netted the equalizer for his fifth of the season.

In the second period, the Wildcats retook the lead, yet again the Owls equalized before the end of the period when sophomore forward Cody Vassa scored to tie it up.

The third period belonged to the Owls, as Kennedy tallied his second of the night in the first 40 seconds of the period, and sophomore forward Greg Malinowski scored what would turn out to be the game winner with 8:55 left to play in regulation. Villanova would add another goal, but it was too little too late as Temple took the game with the 4-3 final.

However, even though the team secured the victory it was not all smiles in the locker room after the game.

“I’m actually kind of disappointed to be honest with you,” coach Ryan Frain said. “Once again we gave up close to 50 shots and [senior goaltender Chris Mullen] has just been bailing us out, it’s as simple as that. I really don’t have much to say to be honest with you other than I’m thankful that Mullen has been playing as well as he has been.”

In the first three games of the season Mullen has seen a total of 136 shots.

“As always you would like to see [the shot total] reversed,” Mullen said. “With us having more shots than them, that’s the ideal situation. The fact that we are giving up so many shots needs to be addressed.”

Out of the 136 total shots this season, Mullen has stopped 121 of them giving him a save percentage of 0.89. And even though his play of late has been highly praised by his coach and teammates, Mullen has said he isn’t performing at his ‘A’ game, and gave credit to his defense.

“For the most part the shots I’m seeing have been pretty stoppable,” Mullen said. “I still can definitely improve and I think that I am capable of playing better. But overall the ‘D’ has been playing well, they’re letting me see the puck which is good. It’s hockey we’re going to give up shots.”

Even though Mullen says the defense has been playing well, the statistics may suggest otherwise. Even with a hot goaltender, the Owls have still given up 14 goals in three games, and 136 shots. Broken down, that’s 4.7 goals on 45.3 shots given up per game.

Up next, in the back end of the two-game set against the Wildcats, Temple and Villanova will face off Sunday at Northeast Skate Zone at 1:40 p.m..

Samuel Matthews can be reached at samuel.matthews@temple.edu. or on Twitter @SJMatthews13.

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