Eric Semborski knows how to defend the Maryland Terrapins.
The Temple senior goaltender proved it once again on Friday night when he held the Terrapins to one goal on 25 shots in the Owls’ 3-1 win at the Northeast Skate Zone.
“I know that they are going to send two guys to the front of the net and try and make it hard for me to see the puck as possible,” Semborski said. “I knew it was coming and more importantly my defense knew it was coming and they battled hard by pushing them out of the way so I was able to see most of the shots.”
Semborski previously shut out the Terrapins on Sept. 19 and was nearly as brilliant in this game, stopping every shot he faced until a last-minute Maryland goal broke up his shutout bid.
A first-period save highlighted Semborski’s play as he turned in his crease to catch a carom off the glass.
“You can usually feel if it’s going to go up out of play or low enough to hit the glass,” Semborski said. “Whenever that puck is in play you track it so I tracked it off the glass and right into my glove.”
The key moment in the game came in the second period when Temple outshot Maryland 18-7.
The Owls (7-6) outplayed the Terrapins from the faceoff as they scored an apparent goal 18 seconds into the period. The goal was disallowed, but the tone was set.
The Terrapins got a break from the Owls’ pressure when they went on the power play halfway through the period. Maryland never found its rhythm on that man advantage, as it was held to one shot.
The penalty kill sparked momentum for the Owls as forward Dave Brewer scored on the next offensive shift.
The breakout period was set up by a first intermission adjustment issued by coach Ryan Frain.
Maryland employed a tenacious forecheck in the first period that concentrated on Temple’s wingers.
The tactic made the Owls look tentative, as it forced them into turnovers in their defensive zone. Near the end of the frame, Kennedy took advantage of a Maryland turnover and wristed a shot past Maryland goalie Tanner MacPheee.
“After the first period we went over how we were going to battle their fore-check and how to get the puck out of our zone,” Frain said. “Our defense was helping out and our centers were playing down low to help the defensemen.”
Semborski’s saves helped draw the ire of the Terrapin attackers in the third period, as a jab on the goalie after a save resulted in a brawl.
A four-on-four situation ensued and Temple forward Patrick Golden took advantage. Golden seized a loose puck off the faceoff and lifted a shot on MacPhee that was blocked, but put in on a rebound by Kennedy.
Maryland avoided the shutout when right-winger Avery Clair scored with a little more than three minutes remaining.
The shutout possibility was noticeable for fans, but Semborski admits he was well aware of the feat.
“As it gets later and later into the third, it creeps into your mind,” Semborski said. “You try not to think about it, but it’s definitely there. It didn’t happen tonight, but it’s alright. We got the win so I’m happy.”
The victory continues the Owls’ retribution against Maryland, a team that swept them last season. Temple lost four straight games to the Terrapins coming into this season.
“It’s basically just coming out and wanting it more,” Frain said. “We kind of screwed ourselves twice in terms of getting to the [regional tournament]. This year we wanted to come back and prove they are not the better team.”
Temple will face Penn State on Sunday at 1:40 p.m.
Stephen Godwin Jr. can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or Twitter @StephenGodwinJr.