Papal visit cancels City 6 Tournament

The City 6 Tournament was put on hold this season because of  Pope Francis’s visit to Philadelphia Sept. 26-27.

The tournament was held last season at the Class of 1923 Arena at the University of Pennsylvania and featured Temple, Villanova, La Salle, Drexel, St. Josephs and Penn. 

“I feel like that is out of our hands,” junior defenseman Aron Litostanski said. “I would like to play in this tournament, especially with a bunch of these teams. Last year we played Drexel and Villanova and we were doing good and it would be a good early season test to see where we stand.”

Instead of playing in the tournament, the Owls will host Drexel Sept. 25 at 8 p.m. and Villanova Sept. 27 at Hatfield Ice Arena in Colmar, Pennsylvania.

“No offense to the teams that dropped out, but they weren’t the stronger teams,” junior forward Matt Krulikowski said. “The best teams will still be playing. It will be kind of much of the same. We are still getting two strong games on the weekend, so can’t really ask for much more than that.”

Last season at the City 6 Tournament, Temple defeated La Salle 8-0 and Villanova 4-3 in overtime.The Owls were defeated in the championship game by Drexel, 2-1.

Temple was awarded a bye in this year’s contest, but that advantage will have to wait until next year.

“It was just one of those games, but the rest of the weekend was real good,” Krulikowski said. “We took a lot from it. We came together as a team. It wasn’t about ourselves. We’re hoping to do the same thing this weekend. [We want to get] a good jump-start to the season and keep rolling from there. We have Pittsburg the weekend after, so we really have to put it together this weekend and be ready to go for Pittsburg. “

Shutout in preseason

The Owls faced off with Delaware Sept. 18 in their lone preseason game and were shutout 4-0 at Fred Rust Arena.

The Blue Hens tallied two goals in the first period and added two more in the second period. Delaware outshot the Owls for the game 50-25.

“I thought we had a couple good chances to put some pucks in the back of the net, so we are making some adjustments with line combinations, kind of seeing who is going to play good with each other,” head coach Roman Bussetti said. “We made some good adjustments during the game and we got some more ideas from this week at practice going into Friday.”

Owls land new coach

The Owls announced Monday that Roman Bussetti is set to become their new coach, replacing Ryan Frain — who resigned in April.

Bussetti, who is the general manager of the Owls’ home rink, Flyers Skate Zone, already has great knowledge about the program.

“He has seen our team play before,” defenseman and team president Patrick Hanrahan said. “He has coached for years on multiple teams. This is his first time coaching at college though. We know he knows the game and we look forward to putting him behind the bench next year.”

Bussetti played hockey with Council Rock High School from 1989 to 1991, where he won a Flyers Cup and a state championship. He went on to play collegiate hockey at the University of New Hampshire from 1991 to 1993 and West Chester University from 1993 to 1995.

After a two-year hiatus, Bussetti returned to hockey in 1997  as the coach at Upper Darby High School. He would later go on to coach at West Chester East High School from 1999 to 2006, Council Rock High School South from 2006 to 2008 and Archbishop Ryan High School from 2008 to 2011.

He was also an assistant coach for Blazers Youth Hockey, Team Comcast and the Philadelphia Junior Flyers.

A panel of Hanrahan, defenseman Jason Lombardi, alumnus Greg Malinowski, general manager Jerry Roberts and Campus Recreation unanimously agreed on Bussetti taking over the team. The factors were Bussetti’s experience, conduct, and his innovativeness toward some of the team’s past problems.

“I think it was just overall his knowledge,” Hanrahan said. “And where we felt like his commitment level would be there.”

Owls to face off against St. Joe’s

Temple’s matchup against St. Joseph’s is more than a divisional game Friday night, as the team also has the chance to clinch an early spot in the Mid-Atlantic Collegiate Hockey Association playoffs.

The postseason chance seems to mean little to coach Ryan Frain, however, as he eyes the American Hockey Collegiate Association regional playoffs.

“The way I look at it is the regionals are the goal,” Frain said. “If you handle your business by beating the teams in your division and conference then you should be able to make the MACHA playoffs.”

Bigger news graced Frain’s computer screen a few days ago when the second set of rankings came out for the ACHA Division 2 rankings. Temple stayed locked in the ninth spot and in the mix for the regional playoffs.

“To be honest, when [Andrew] Trainor and Ted [Wood] and I talked to other coaches around the league, we thought we were going to stay at the No. 9 spot based on our performances against Toledo and Penn State,” Frain said.

The last time the Owls and Hawks clashed was on Nov. 8 when the Owls overcame a first-period shutout. Temple tallied six goals over the next two periods, while the Hawks managed two. The Hawks have an abysmal 2-16 record, but Frain is not taking this game lightly.

“When we go into games against St. Joe’s, it doesn’t matter if they are bad or not because it’s a divisional game,” Frain said. “You have to be able to get up for games like this. To them we are the big dog, if you will, as we are the first matchup against a ranked opponent out of the break, so we are going to have a target on our back.”

This is Temple’s first game back after almost two weeks removed from its last contest. Frain does not think rust will be a factor, due to the team’s practice schedule this past week.

“A break is always good after 19 or 20 games,” Frain said. “The guys got to spend time with their families and enjoy the holiday. We had a good week of practice this past Monday and Wednesday night and I think we are ready to go for these next four games that are huge. After the rankings have come in we know we will be facing No. 8 Delaware and No. 6 Rowan. I know the players know the importance of these games and I expect them to be ready to go.”

The Owls will face off against the Hawks at 9:20 p.m.

-Stephen Godwin Jr.

Owls to face Toledo in two-game set

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.

Bitter rivalry to resume in season opener

Coach Ryan Frain said he is already treating tonight’s game against the University of Maryland as a playoff game.

The second-year coach’s emphasis on the Mid-Atlantic Collegiate Hockey Association bout could be that every contest against Maryland since 2008 has been a close game for the Owls. The Terps have gotten the better of the matchups in that span, winning four of the last five.

No pair of games in one season with the two teams were closer than last season, when the Owls dropped a pair of overtime games to Maryland by scores of 6-5 and 2-1.

Another factor lies in the sting from the end of the 2012-13 season, which is still fresh in the mind of Frain and his veteran players.

The top 10 teams in the American Collegiate Hockey Association’s Southeast region make the regional tournament on a point system, but in 2013 the Terps edged the Owls by one point for the final spot.

The two schools weren’t far apart last season, either, as Maryland finished No. 11 in the region, while Temple finished in the No. 15 spot.

The game marks the second consecutive season that Temple and Maryland are starting their seasons against each other.

The two teams are both in the MACHA conference, but are in different divisions as Maryland resides in the MACHA South and Temple in the MACHA North.

-Stephen Godwin Jr.

Hockey roster released

Temple ice hockey coach Ryan Frain released the team’s final roster Tuesday night.

One highlight on the final roster lies in sophomore forward Brett Woyshner, who made the team after spending last season as a redshirt.

Frain is keeping 26 active players on his team and is grooming four redshirts for next season.

The squad will return 19 players from last year’s team, while it will feature 15 juniors and seniors.

Seven new names are set to join the team this season, but the two that stand out early are freshmen forwards Devon Thomas and Eric Graham.

Thomas worked hard during tryouts and scored two goals on the final night of the three-day trial, while Graham also netted a pair of goals in the tryout finale and had another ricochet off the post.

-Stephen Godwin Jr.

Ice hockey opens season against Rival

The ice hockey team will face off at Mid-Atlantic Collegiate
Hockey rival Maryland tomorrow to start off their 2013-14 campaign.
The puck drops at 2:40 p.m..

Maryland knocked the Owls out of playoff contention last year, and
finished one place ahead of Temple to take the final playoff spot in
the MACH standings, ultimately leading to a run into nationals for the
Terrapins from Maryland.

“We want to get back at them for taking our spot in regionals,” senior
goaltender Chris Mullen said. “And they ultimately got to nationals,
which is our goal. They’re definitely a good team but there’s no
reason why we can’t skate with them.”

Sophomore forward Greg Malinowski didn’t hold back.

“I hate them,” Malinowski said. “They’re not really a skilled team,
they’re just a real chippy team.”

Saturday’s game will also mark the beginning of the Ryan Frain era as
head coach of Temple Ice Hockey. Frain previously served as an
assistant under former head coach Jerry Roberts, and is looking forward
to the opportunity to be head coach.

“Just a lot of excitement [heading into the season],” Frain said.
“Being assistant coach for the last few years I think I’ve gotten the
feel for what it’s going to take to be head coach. It’s really
exciting to have the opportunity to be the head coach, it’s going to
be pretty awesome to be a head coach at the age I am.”

What better way would there be to start a coaching career with a win
over a MACH rival?

Ice hockey looks for new captain

Due to the departure of three-year forward Jordan Lawrence, Temple ice hockey is currently without a captain.

“[Lawrence] was an amazing leader,” senior goaltender Chris Mullen said. “Not always the biggest talker but said what needed to be said and nothing more. He led mostly by example. He could play any position, defense or offense. He kept the team going, always hitting and blocking shots and always ready and in position.”

Mullen added, “I’ll never forget, [Lawrence] had a bruised or broken rib and he was still diving in front of shots. He always made you want to play for your team and made everyone feel welcome the moment you made the team. I know it’s over used, but I would honestly follow him to battle any day any time. I can’t say enough good things.”

As for who will attempt to fill Lawrence’s shoes as team captain, there are a few different options but newly appointed head coach Ryan Frain has been mostly silent on whom those options may be.

Frain admitted that he does have a pair of forwards who are the frontrunners to next wear the ‘C’ for the Owls but declined to name them. Frain also said that he is not sure how he wishes the decision to be made, whether it is left up to the team to vote on their next captain or whether Frain will make the decision personally.

Frain named ice hockey head coach

Ryan Frain will once again be the face of Temple ice hockey, only this time in a different capacity.

The former standout player turned assistant coach has been named the new head coach of Temple’s ice hockey club, it was announced Monday.

Seniors Joe Pisko, Kurt Noce, Nick McMahon and Chris Mullen headed a search committee and made the decision for the club, which finished 17-12 overall last season and missed the American Collegiate Hockey Association Regional Tournament for the second consecutive season.

Frain was a standout on the ice for five seasons (2006-11) and stands as the club’s all-time leader in goals, assists, points and games played. He spent two years as an assistant under former coach Jerry Roberts, who resigned in Feburary.

Frain will get his first taste of head coaching when the team reassembles for tryouts in early September.

Roberts resigns as ice hockey coach

Citing personal reasons, Jerry Roberts has resigned as Temple ice hockey head coach last week, Roberts confirmed Tuesday.

Roberts said via text message Tuesday night that he gave up the job he held for four seasons in order to “spend more time being a dad.” Roberts said he will stay on with the team in an administrative capacity moving forward.

Roberts has spent the better part of a decade with the team both as a player and coach since 2002. After taking over as head coach in 2009, Roberts guided the Owls to American Collegiate Hockey Association Regional Tournament berths in 2009-10 and 2010-11, along with Temple’s first appearance in the ACHA National Tournament in the Spring 2011.

Per the team’s website, the Owls are currently in the process of finding a head coach for the 2013-14 season.