Just like in its previous game, Temple took to the ice at Northeast Skatezone in need of a win to keep its slim American Collegiate Hockey Association regional playoff hopes alive. On Saturday night, they failed to do so, falling to Rider 5-3.
Coach Ryan Frain was visibly upset after the game and wasn’t afraid to let his team know he was unhappy with the effort given tonight.
“Disappointing,” Frain said. “From the start of the second semester I told these guys that they need to play every game like it’s a playoff game and tonight it bit us in the ass. The first 20 – nothing, no effort, no want to be here, then finally in the second and third period we turned it on but, hey guess what? Too little too late.”
The game started off very physical with both teams having chances to score.
Rider freshman forward Max Daley had a prime chance to open the scoring with a breakaway 15 minutes into the contest but senior goaltender Chris Mullen sprawled across his crease to make the save keeping the game scoreless.
Shortly after, sophomore forward Dave Brewer was called for a cross checking penalty and Rider would capitalize on the power play when Daley received a cross ice pass and shot it past a sprawled Mullen to take a 1-0 lead going into the second period.
Physicality increased in the second with both teams picking up penalties throughout.
After offsetting roughing penalties expired and 5-on-5 play resumed junior defenseman Chris Carnivale took a shot and cleaned up his own rebound with a backhander to tie the game with 7:24 left in the second.
“It was more of a regroup in the neutral zone,” Carnivale said. “I gave it to Kennedy, Kennedy walked it in and then stopped and I was crashing, he gave it back to me, I took a shot from the top of the circle and I just crashed the net and got my own rebound.”
The second period would end tied at 1.
Less than two minutes into the third period, junior forward Stephen Kennedy took a quick wrist shot from the blue line that found its way into the back of the net giving the Owls a 2-1 lead early in the third.
Temple added to the lead with a wrist shot goal from the faceoff circle by junior forward Pat Golden soon after the Kennedy tally, but Rider answered right back less than two minutes later when junior forward Zac Demarco shot the puck past Mullen to trim the lead back to one.
With 5:08 left to play in regulation, Daley picked up a rebound in the slot and shot it past Mullen for his second goal of the night and a tie hockey game coming down to the last few minutes of regulation.
One minute 15 seconds later, Rider virtually ended Temple’s chances at making the American Collegiate Hockey Association regional playoffs when the team scored again off of another rebound. Rider would add an empty net goal, and the game ended 5-3.
In his last season as an Owl, it was tough for Mullen to miss out on regionals.
“It’s obviously frustrating,” Mullen said. “My freshman year we made it all the way to nationals and since then we haven’t even made an appearance in regional’s so it’s obviously frustrating. A little heart breaking I would even say.”
“We have the team and the talent to [make ACHA regional’s],” Frain said. “And we knew that from day one when we put this squad together. But a lot of games we beat ourselves, whether it be not showing up for a period, taking 20 minutes off not playing a full 60 or taking too many penalties.”
Although realistically out of the ACHA regional’s, Temple will still compete in the Mid-Atlantic Collegiate Hockey playoffs at the end of the regular season.
Temple will next compete Friday night at 9:20 p.m. at Northeast Skatezone against Virginia Tech.