Temple’s opponents are beating the Owls early in games as of late.
For the third straight game, the Owls allowed the first goal of the game in an eventual 6-3 loss to Montclair State University at Floyd Hall Arena Friday night.
The Red Hawks employed the same tactic and then took the lead for good on the stick of left winger Nick Lieback, who scored two goals in the win.
The Red Hawks scored the go-ahead goal three times before they finally pulled away.
“Tonight was just a bad bounce in front,” coach Ryan Frain said of the game’s first goal. “We just have to be more mentally prepared and focused and ready to go from warmups.”
The Owls were on the other side of this advantage during their first five games. Each game got Temple up substantially and allowed the team to hold off the enemy’s comeback attempts.
“It’s just something we have to get back to,” Frain said. “In the first couple games we were able to get out to some quick leads and put the pressure on the other team.”
Lieback scored both of his goals on power play opportunities as the Red Hawks capitalized on two of their six chances. The special teams unit continues to plague the Owls as they were only able to take advantage of 1 of 8 opportunities.
Temple got two goals from its captain Greg Malinowski, who described the Owls recent stretch as a “lull.”
“It’s a reoccurring problem,” Malinowski said. “We need to think more and learn how to think of the game as a whole.”
The undermanned situations subjected Temple goalie Eric Semborski to a number of odd-man rushes. The loss puts a damper on Semborski’s achievement on Oct. 9, when he was named goalie of the month of September for the Mid-Atlantic Hockey Association.
The Red Hawks scored less than two minutes into the game only to be matched by a powerplay goal scored by forward Cody Vassa with nine seconds remaining.
Montclair reestablished its lead early in the second period for the 2-1 lead, but Malinowski slapped a rebound over the glove of Red Hawk goalie Bobby Esposito to knot the game again.
The Red Hawks created distance at the end of the second period when they took a 4-2 lead. Malinowski struck again halfway through the third to get his team within one with 12 minutes remaining.
The closing minutes sunk the Owls when Montclair forward Joseph Redmon scored the separation goal with under two minutes remaining. The final goal was a Red Hawk empty-netter as Temple pulled Semborski in desperation.
Temple is now 4-4 and has a quick turnaround for its game against Navy in Annapolis, Maryland Saturday at 7:30 p.m.
Stephen Godwin Jr. can be reached at email@example.com or twitter @StephenGodwinJr.