The first-ever matchups between the Owls and the University of Toledo this weekend will have major implications on the American Collegiate Hockey Association rankings that will come out on Nov. 23.
Toledo ranks sixth in the ACHA Southeast standings with a 7-4 record, while Temple sits in ninth with a 10-6 record.
“I think it is shaping up to be a good weekend,” Toledo coach Dan Conway said in an email. “The second ranking period is right around the corner and these are two big games for both of us.”
The two teams share similarities as both are loaded with veterans and each has endured hardships this season.
The Rockets have 16 upperclassmen on their 25-man roster to the Owls’ 13 on a 26-man roster.
Temple blazed through its first five games with a 4-1 record before stumbling through a six-game losing streak that stretched from Sept. 28 to Oct. 12. The Owls proceeded to win three-straight games and the team has won six of its last eight.
Toledo won its first two games, but then lost five straight. A seven-game winning streak helped salvage its season with a seven-game win streak that it is looking to extend tonight.
“We unfortunately dropped a few games early on, but I think a good part of that was due to the change in our strength of schedule,” Conway said. “We decided as a team that this was rock bottom for us. We had to get the mojo back. We know we have talented players and an end goal that we have to keep pushing towards. I think we are still trying to ride the wave we are on while not taking any of it for granted.”
Owls coach Ryan Frain arrived in Toledo at 4 a.m. this morning and held a short practice with the team earlier this afternoon at the Team Toledo Ice House.
Tonight’s game is at 9:30 p.m. with a second game taking place at 3:30 p.m.
Temple penned two recruits ahead of the season opener Friday, as Philadelphia local Deja Reynolds and Chyanna Canada from Binghamton, New York signed on for the 2015-16 season, the team announced Wednesday.
Reynolds, a 5-foot-9-inch guard for Imhotep Charter High School, averaged 17 points, seven assists, five rebounds and three steals per game as a junior last season, helping Imhotep to a 22-2 record and the Philadelphia Girls Public City Championship.
Reynolds also reached the 1,000-point mark for her career at Imhotep, and was named MVP in several recruiting showcases, the 2014 8-Eye Classic and the 2014 MLK Classic as a member of the Philly Triple Threat AAU team.
Canada, a 6-foot-2 forward from Nottingham High School, averaged a double-double in points and rebounds in her sophomore and junior years. She averaged 14 points, 12 rebounds and three blocks per game last season, earning an All-Central New York Team selection.
Canada also earned an all-area selection last season, and three all-league selections.
The NCAA’s selection show announcing the 16-team field of teams to play in the NCAA tournament did not call Temple’s name Sunday night, ending its season.
Despite losing the Big East title and an automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament, Temple still had the possibility of earning an at-large bid.
Temple finished the regular season with a 13-6 overall record (3-2 Big East) and the nation’s No. 16 ranking. The Owls defeated No. 17 Old Dominion 2-1 in the semifinal of the conference tournament on Friday.
Senior guard Jesse Morgan has decided to play out his final semester of eligibility in the spring, according to a CBS Sports report Wednesday.
Morgan will miss the Owls’ first 10 games of the 2014-15 season, and will become eligible to play starting on Dec. 18 for Temple’s non-conference matchup at the University of Delaware.
Temple had petitioned for Morgan to receive a full year of eligibility for the 2014-15 season, but the NCAA elected to maintain Morgan’s eligibility for one semester. On the American Athletic Conference media day at the New York Athletic Club last Wednesday, coach Fran Dunphy said the ruling allowed Morgan to choose whether to play out his semester of eligibility in the fall or the spring.
Originally a University of Massachusetts commit, Morgan averaged 13.4 points per game as a junior during the 2012-13 campaign for the Minutemen, before a torn Anterior Cruciate Ligament ended his season. He transferred to Temple that summer and petitioned for eligibility for the 2013-14 season, but was denied a waiver by the NCAA.
After he regains eligibility, Morgan will join an experienced Temple backcourt that features senior Will Cummings, junior Quenton DeCosey and junior transfer Devin Coleman, who will play his first season with the team after sitting out in 2013-14, per the NCAA’s transfer policy.