The Owls have struggled to start quickly in 2015. In three of their first five games, the team trailed after one period.
Friday night at the Steel Ice Center Temple fixed that problem, however, it did not lead to a win.
The Owls held a two-goal lead midway through the second period, but Temple’s offense stalled and the Mountain Hawks scored six goals in the final 25 minutes handing Temple an 8-5 loss.
Owls’ defenseman Ryan Dumbach scored a hat-trick in the loss, but the career-night lost its luster for the blue liner.
“It’s nice to score and help the team out but kind of disappointing to get a loss like that,” Dumbach said. “A lot of the goals were because of good work by my teammates, and I was just there to put the rebound home. They were really just all team goals. I was just lucky to have my name on them.”
Temple controlled the puck in its offensive zone and capitalized on three of its power play opportunities, but the team allowed the Mountain Hawks to dictate things in their offensive zone and convert five of its opportunities with the man advantage.
“We definitely took advantage of our power play time,” Dumbach said. “I think the majority of our goals came on the power play. What’s hurting us right now is taking penalties ourselves. I think we gave up four or five power play goals tonight. We really need to find that consistency and strict discipline right now.”
The Mountain Hawks struck first five minutes into the game, but Temple responded when Dumbach scored on his own rebound 18 seconds later.
Dumbach tallied another goal a minute later, but Temple ran into penalty trouble that resulted in Lehigh scoring a pair of goals to end the period 2-2.
Temple forward Stephen Kennedy scored seven minutes into the second period, and Dumbach extended his team’s lead a few minutes later.
The Mountain Hawks quickly answered Dumbach’s offering and scored three more goals in the second period including one in the final two seconds.
Owls defenseman Jason Lombardi tallied a goal to keep his team close at 6-5 after two Mountain Hawks got tagged with penalties.
“They just kept playing,” Owls coach Roman Bussetti said. “We played flat. We gave them chances. You’re not going to be successful when you give the other team the puck. There was a boatload of turnovers. Two of the power play goals we had the opportunity to get puck out [of the zone] and we didn’t get it out.”
Lehigh sealed the game by jamming a puck past Temple goalie Scott Salamon with less than two minutes to play. Temple’s offense was shutout in the final frame as Lehigh outshot the Owls 11-5 in the third period.
“They were just keeping us their foot on the pedal,” Kennedy said, who had one goal and two assists. “They were just shutting down the neutral zone real well. They were making sure we weren’t getting out of our zone without taking bodies with them. We couldn’t generate any offensive pressure, or at least as much as we wanted to in order to get back in the game.”
Owls forward Phil Vassilev returned to game action after being out since Sept. 18 with an undisclosed upper body. Bussetti limited Vassilev’s minutes, but gave him opportunities at the Lehigh net. Forward Matt Krulikowski and defenseman John Anthony were held out of the game.