The final roster for the ice hockey team has been picked, and first-year coach Ryan Frain is pleased with the team that he has selected.
“I think we look pretty solid top to bottom, to be honest with you,” Frain said.
Frain selected 26 players for his roster and will be able to dress 21 of them for all games this season. In addition to the 26 selected roster players, Frain has decided to keep six redshirt players that are expected to be practice players throughout the season. However, Frain said that just because they’re listed as redshirt players doesn’t mean they have officially been ruled out of the 2013-14 season.
“The way we look at it, our practice players are our redshirts,” Frain said. “You’re guaranteed every night that at practice you’re on the ice. We don’t guarantee you games but, hey, if worst comes to worst and we experience a ton of injuries and maybe some ineligible players due to academics, there is always a possibility for them to get in the game.”
As anchors to help guide the offense for this season, Frain highlighted senior forward Joe Pisko and sophomore forward Greg Malinowski.
“Those guys have kind of taken the reins,” Frain said. “They’re the guys that speak up during practice and everyone else kind of follows their efforts on the ice. And [Pisko and Malinowski] give 110 percent effort when they’re on the ice because they want to win, and they want to put the team in the best position to win.”
Malinowski, a native of Southampton, Pa., admits to being a shy person away from hockey. When he’s on the ice, it’s a different story.
“I’m a pretty quiet person off of the ice, like when I’m walking around campus and such,” Malinowski said. “But once I get on the ice, it’s a totally different game. How I’ve been raised throughout my whole career was to work hard and be very disciplined, and I know that there is a time to goof off, but there’s also a time to get down and be serious.”
As for defense, the Owls lost several key defensive players to graduation. Athletes like Matt Benedetto, Andrew Trainor and Jordan Lawrence will be hard to replace, but Frain is confident in his defensemen and said that he has five or six new players with the potential to step forward and solidify the blue line for Temple.
Still, whatever the team lacks in experience on the blue line is expected to be made up for in goal, as senior goaltender Chris Mullen will be charged with the task of leading the Owls’ defense.
“Chris Mullen will have the starting nod in goal,” Frain said. “He just has to play good night in and night out, and he’ll have that spot solidified.”
Mullen was the Owls’ starter for the majority of last season, and is looking forward to heading into this year as the team’s No. 1 in net.
“I’m pumped,” Mullen said. “I mean, to know going into my senior year that I’m the guy is exciting. I’m ready to go and start playing some games. I’ve been with the team for awhile, and the core guys this year are all focused and ready to go.”
Good work ethic continues to be the team’s main focus in the early parts of this season. In the last couple of years, slacking at times in games has cost the Owls and is a big reason why the team has missed out on the playoffs in the last two years.
“We kind of wavered with that the last year or two, where guys would kind of show up, maybe take the night off, or the first 20 minutes off of the game,” Frain said, who was an assistant coach with the team at the time.
This year, Frain has made it clear that will no longer be the case. The team has trained in high intensity, non-stop action and Frain is happy with how hard this year’s team has been working.
“I couldn’t be more pleased with the way these guys are coming out in practice,” Frain said. “These guys have been pretty much been balls to the wall, and they’re just giving it everything they got and leaving it all out on the ice.”
The Owls will start their season Sept. 21 at the University of Maryland, the team that knocked Temple out of playoff contention last year.
Samuel Matthews can be reached at email@example.com.