For the Owls, the losses just keeping piling up against their biggest in-state rival.
A sluggish start from the get-go doomed the Temple in the end as the Owls fell to the Ice Lions, 4-1. For Temple, the loss was their fifth consecutive defeat to its Mid-Atlantic Collegiate Hockey Association rival.
Freshman forward Dave Brewer netted the lone goal for the Owls, his fourth of the weekend.
Penn State appeared to have the upper hand out of the gate, netting the game’s first goal four minutes in. They would take a 2-0 lead into the first, and a 4-0 lead mid-way through the second period.
“It took us longer to get onto the game plan,” senior forward Kurt Noce said.“We came out a little slow like we’ve been doing the last few games. When we finally did stick to our game plan, it was too late. It’s just all about executing earlier next time. … In the first period and a half, they controlled most of the play.”
Penn State dominated the shots on net ratio to the tune of 25 to five in that first period. Junior goalie Chris Mullen kept the score within reason, though, with 23 first period stops. Mullen would shine Saturday, saving 46 Penn State shots and keeping the game within reach throughout for the Owls in the process.
“They outworked us in the first period,” coach Jerry Roberts said.“We were playing behind and they took it to us. We looked a little slow and looked like we weren’t quite ready to play.”
Despite Temple (13-9) outshooting the Ice Lions 25-19 the rest of the way, only Brewer was able to break through the brick wall that was Penn State senior goalie Ryan Demuth.
“In the back half of the game, we outplayed them,” Roberts said. “But we gave them the first period and the first two or three minutes of the second, and that’s what killed us. In the final 35 minutes of the game, we clearly had the better of the play. We outshot them and had more chances, but it took us 25 minutes to get started. That was the difference.”
In total, Penn State out-shot the Owls 50-24 en route to the win.
“In the first period and a half,[Penn State] controlled most of the play,” Noce said.“After that, it was all us. We controlled the tempo and physicality from there. But they just jumped on us early.”
Senior forward Sean Nealis left the game after colliding headfirst into the boards. He was taken to the campus hospital, but was diagnosed with a mild concussion and should be good to go when Temple gets back on the ice after the academic winter break.
Temple have lost two of their previous three contests heading into the five-week break, and will face a tough test amid the start of the new semester with a home-and-home series against a perennial MACHA power in the University of Maryland-Baltimore County on Jan. 19 and 20.
“Everyone needs to rest up and get healthy again,” Roberts said.“The timing of the holiday break is huge. We’re all in need of it. Moving ahead, we know we have the right tools and especially solid goaltending. We know that if we have our heads on straight in January, we’ll be just fine.”
“[UMBC]is a team that’s going to be ranked high,” Roberts added.“That weekend is going to set the tempo for the rest of the season.”
Andrew Parent can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on twitter @daParent93.