The ice hockey club finished the season with a 9-18 record.
Last week, coaches and members of the American Collegiate Hockey Association got together to finalize the rankings for conference playoffs. Teams ranked first and second in each division had a bye to the national competition, while teams No. 3-10 were to play in the Regional playoffs for a bid to nationals.
Temple was ranked No. 11. With an appearance at nationals out of reach, the Owls started their quest to win their division, the Mid-Atlantic Collegiate Hockey Association North, Friday with a game versus Delaware. After losing to the Blue Hens the previous weekend in a 5-4 shootout loss, the Owls were looking to redeem themselves, and they did, winning 8-6.
Goals for the Owls were scored by junior defenseman Matt Benedetto, senior defenseman Andrew Trainor, freshman forward Brady O’Donnell, junior forward Nick McMahon, freshman defenseman Chris Carnivalle, senior forward Taylor Lockhart and junior forward Chris Johnson tallied two, including a shorthanded goal in the second period.
Unfortunately for the Owls, the season ended on Saturday when Temple took on the Ice Lions of Penn State, a team that has a second place ranking and an automatic bid to nationals.
“They’re just a solid, incredible team,” Lockhart said. “I’m not going to say the effort wasn’t there because everyone wanted to play tonight for the two seniors, they’re just good.”
The Owls finished the regular season with a record of 9-17. After losing 12 straight games, Temple had a mid-season turn around winning five straight at the end of November into December 2011.
“It started out with some good promise,” senior captain Jordan Lawrence said. “We had a lot of ups and downs.”
With the end of the season, the Owls say goodbye to two seniors in forward Jim McKenzie and forward George Rutter.
“It’s pretty emotional,” Lawrence said. “I’ve played with both of them for four years so it’s definitely hard to see them go especially not being able to get to where we wanted to be.”
“It sucks that our effort came too little too late,” McKenzie said. “I’m glad that the team fought its hardest. Players come in and out every year, but it’s always kind of had the same mentality on the team. Everyone bonds together and everyone plays together. Hockey players are a unique kind of person and I’m going to miss it a lot.”
Seniors Lawrence, Lockhart and Trainor all have a fifth year of eligibility, and plan to return next season.
“We just have to thank [Rutter and McKenzie] for all the contributions they’ve done,” coach Jerry Roberts said.
With more than half the team returning next year, Roberts and the team are looking at the season as a learning experience to help build for next year.
“This season, we were embarrassed the way it finished. Guys are going to remember this,” Lawrence said. “Expect a complete turnaround. We are going to come back a lot stronger.”
“We’re going to be a team next year with a lot more drive, a lot more dedication, and a lot more spirit,” Roberts said. “We found out just how much that passion, effort and intensity brings to the table and we learned the value of that. It’s something that’s going to be changed for next year.”
Samantha Grinnan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.