In the final game of the regular season, and the last for the seniors, the Temple Owls needed a convincing win over Monmouth University to keep their American Collegiate Hockey Association Regional Tournament hopes alive.
The Owls took 55 shots and posted a shutout.
Temple (17-12, 5-5 MACHA North) won 3-0, and while the victory was needed, there is uncertainty as to whether its performance was enough.
For Temple to make it into the ACHA Regional Tournament, they need Maryland to lose and for the regional voting committee to vote in their favor, in order to secure the 10th and last seed. A way for the Owls to help their own cause was to blowout Monmouth. The question remains if they scored enough.
“I think we were hoping to get a little more on the scoreboard than just three goals,” coach Jerry Roberts said. “We could have done a whole lot different tonight.”
“We played the way we wanted to play,” Roberts added. “We played the way we knew we had to play. It just didn’t quite work out on the scoreboard in our favor. We did the things that we knew we had to do.”
Temple was in control of the game from the first face-off, putting 55 shots on goal, but only had the three goals to show for it by the end.
“I feel like a lot of those situations we could not have gotten any less lucky than we were in this game tonight as far as putting the puck in the back of the net,” Roberts said.
Senior defenseman Matt Benedetto scored in the first period off a tough angle shot to give Temple a 1-0 lead.
Benedetto, however, was not originally going to take a shot.
“I kind of fanned on a pass, originally,” Benedetto said. “It opened up a little bit of room for me. I kind of slid down. I was probably a little bit below the dot, and there was a little bit of room up on [the goaltender’s] short side. So, I figured I would just try to get [the puck] up there. I lucked out and got my spot.”
After a scoreless second period, the Owls piled on two more insurance goals. One by sophomore forward Allan Fenton, and then another by sophomore defenseman Sean Ermigiotti.
Senior defenseman Andrew Trainor took multiple shots from the point during the game. Although he added to Temple’s high shot count, he just could not find a way to put one in the back of the net.
“We were definitely hoping something was going to go in,” Trainor said. “It seemed like nothing was going in. We definitely threw enough on them, but it seemed like there was a piece of plexiglass behind them.”
Although the Owls’ felt like they needed more goals, they were still happy to get the win considering it was the last home game for the seniors.
“It is nice to send the seniors out in their last game with a W,” Roberts said. “It’s a rare opportunity to get to finish off with a W like that, so it was nice to be able to do that for them.”
“We obviously wanted to win by a larger margin,” Trainor said. “Still, getting to go out on our home ice with a W. Your last game here. The last that you are ever going to walk out of that locker room; no better way to do it.”
“It was definitely a good experience,” Benedetto said. “It is always good to go out on a win, especially since this is our last game here.”
Before the game, the senior members of the team were given a special introduction.
With their parents standing on the bench and their teammates standing on the goal-line, Benedetto, Trainor, defenseman Jordan Lawrence and forwards Chris Brennan, Dan Feder, and Sean Nealis were individually called out by the public address announcer. Then the players gathered with their parents for a quick group photo.
Temple’s ACHA hopes are still up in the air, but they will have postseason play in the Mid-Atlantic North Division Playoffs, which start next weekend.
Freshman goaltender Eric Semborski got the start against Monmouth instead of the usual starter in junior Chris Mullen. Roberts said he wanted to rest Mullen before the MACHA Playoffs.
Semborski only saw 17 shots, but he saved all of them to earn a shutout.
On Monday, the Owls will officially know if they have made it into the ACHA Regional Tournament or not.
“I do not think our chances are very good right now,” Trainor said. “Actually, probably not too good at all. But we are hoping. There is still a slim chance, and still a little bit of hope we can hold on too.”
“We worked hard enough where if they do not vote us in it is not because of this game,” Benedetto said. “It is because of things that led up to this. I think we did enough tonight that if the chips do fall our way, I think we helped out our cause at least a little bit tonight.”
“We are hoping,” Roberts said. “We have to get lucky but, we will find out on Monday.”