Skating on all cylinders in early-season tournament

Penn played two solid periods of ice hockey against Temple’s ice hockey club at the Class of 1923 Ice Rink Saturday. However, the five goals scored by the Owls in the first period proved to be more than enough, as Jason Walker secured his third career shutout in a 6-0 victory.

The Owls, led by freshman Ryan Frain’s first career hat trick, struck early, often and never relinquished control of a game that decided the third place finisher of the sixth annual Liberty Bell Invitational.

Frain, a Philadelphia native, has emerged as a potent offensive weapon for the Owls. He has registered at least one goal in each of the team’s three games this season.

He opened up Saturday’s game with a wrist shot past goalie Matt Weyandt in the first minute and added his second goal on a breakaway three minutes later.

“We were able to take advantage of their defense because of our skating,” Frain said.

“Their defensemen weren’t really good skaters going backward, so we just skated around and past them.”

The team’s skating skills are one of the reasons why coach Aaron Voegtli thinks this season will be a successful one.

“We are a very young team, but we have a lot of strong skaters,” he said. “If you couple that with the team unity that we are building, we are going to be a tough team to beat.”

The Owls were able to skate circles around a Quaker defense that looked baffled by the speed of the Temple attack. Chris Altomare
banged home a rebound after a slap shot by defensemen Adam Adelson was deflected in front of the goal. Forward Luke Heckenberger followed the third and final goal of Frain with one of his own, thus ending the first period onslaught with a little over two minutes remaining. The strong play of the offense nearly overshadowed the play of the defense and goalie Jason Walker.

“The defense did a great job of keeping a lot of the shots outside,” Walker said. “Penalties killed us [Friday against Villanova]and [Saturday] we played smarter and kept our guys on the ice.”

Walker deflated every hope of a scoring opportunity Penn mounted throughout the game. After a penalty in the first period left the Owls a man down, Walker was drawn out of the net after making a diving save to the right. He recovered and, with the aid of a sliding defenseman, made a save that extinguished the confidence of the Quakers.

The Owls were able to avoid the same penalties that cost them their opening game against Villanova.

“With all the new rule changes it’s hard to keep everyone on the ice,” Walker said.

“Hooking, holding and interference are being called on any contact [with a stick] in the midsection.”Penn (0-3) found itself on the shorter end of the penalty stick. As the game drew near the end, the Quakers’ frustration began to boil over. Defensemen Matt Bessette was called for roughing midway through the third period
following some physical play. This lead to a tusseel which drew the attention of every player on the ice.The win was the Owls’ first this season. They head across the Delaware River to take on Princeton Saturday.

Jeremy Drummond can be reached at

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