Owls miss ACHA tournament

For Temple ice hockey, lightning has officially struck twice.

The Owls (17-12, 5-5 MACHA North) have missed out on the American Collegiate Hockey Association Division II regional tournament for the second consecutive season, placing 11th with 95 points in a rankings system in which the Top 10 teams with the lowest cumulative ranking score make the regional tournament.

Temple finished just shy of the 94-point mark from 10th place University of Maryland (8-8-2, 5-3 MACHA South), while also placing 11th in the regional standings for the second year in a row.

The Owls swapped places with Maryland in the final rankings after Temple held the 10th spot in the December version, while the Terrapins sat on the outside looking in at 11th.

The Owls will play out their final weekend of the season in Abington, Md. for the Mid-Atlantic Collegiate Hockey Association tournament with the fourth seed in the MACHA North, and will open the tournament with No. 1 Penn State (20-4-1, 9-0 MACHA North) Friday.

The Ice Lions have swept the Owls in two regular season games thus far, and will look to end Temple’s season for the second consecutive year after bouncing the Owls from the MACHA Tournament’s semifinal round this time last year.

Game time is set to start at 8:30 p.m.

Owls must win out

With three regular season games remaining, the Owls (15-11) face the simplest yet most daunting of tasks.

They have to win all three.

“These last games are absolutely must-wins,” Roberts said. “Looking back to where we were a year ago and we’re in the same spot. Last year, no one’s heart was into it and this year guys can’t wait to get to the rink every night. We know we’re going to win. The mentality is completely different to where it was in the past. We all feel so good about it. Instead of being desperate and panicking, we’re excited and motivated. “

With more stifling opposition looming in a Feb. 8 bout with top conference rival Rowan University, Temple will first have to take care of Millersville (13-5-1) Friday.

Temple handed the Marauders a 6-2 defeat in the season opener on Sep. 15 on the road. The Owls will need lightning to strike twice if they are to remain in the playoff hunt.

With an 11th place spot in the American Collegiate Hockey Association (ACHA) Southeast Region rankings, the Owls will need to win out in order to salvage a top-ten ranking, as well as their season.

“We need to make a statement at Millersville,” Roberts said. “It needs to be a win and a statement on the scoreboard. We’re going to play every second of the game like it’s overtime no matter what.”

Each of Temple’s final three games will be at home, with a visit from Monmouth University on Feb. 9 being the season finale.

Junior goalie Chris Mullen will start Friday, Roberts confirmed.

Temple’s first test in Millersville is set to start at 9:30 p.m.



Marbach academically ineligible, out for season

Freshman forward Jayson Marbach will be sidelined for the remainder of the spring semester due to academic eligibility, coach Jerry Roberts confirmed Wednesday.

The American Collegiate Hockey Association requires each player to complete at least nine credits per academic year and to maintain a cumulative 2.0 GPA after each academic semester, Roberts said.

Roberts said Marbach fell one class short of meeting requirements.

“We try really hard to worry about the things we have control over and forget about the things we can’t control,” Roberts said. “We can’t do anything about it so we’re trying to not lose too much sleep about it. We’re trying to find some opportunity here. It forces other players to step up their game a bit without a player who scores goals like he does.”

Marbach was third on the team in scoring through the first semester with nine goals and 12 assists through 20 games played. He will be deemed eligible to play once again next fall.

-Andrew Parent

Ice hockey hosts top rival UMBC

After failing to steal a win on the road from their top rival one-day prior, the Owls (13-10) will have a chance at redemption Sunday when they take on the University of Maryland-Baltimore County in the second slate of a weekend home-and-home series, this time in the more Temple-friendly confines of Northeast Skatezone.

Sunday’s contest represents the second of five critical, high-stake conference games Temple will face amid hopes for a late playoff push. UMBC (14-8) handled Temple with ease late in a 6-1 Temple loss Saturday.

After junior goalie Chris Mullen conceded four goals before he was pulled in favor of his backup in sophomore Eric Semborski, goaltending duties for Sunday will be a game time decision, coach Jerry Roberts said.

Game time is slated to start at 1:40 p.m.

-Andrew Parent

Chris Johnson’s Temple career ends with injury

After missing the final weekend of the previous semester due to symptoms of the early stages of arthritis in his back, senior forward Chris Johnson’s Temple ice hockey career is over, coach Jerry Roberts confirmed Friday.

After consulting with multiple doctors, Johnson was ruled out for the season with the arthritis symptoms along with a slipped disk in his back.

“We spoke about it a week ago,” Roberts said. “He went to a few different doctors to find out what the best course of action is. With college sports, you don’t want to jeopardize the condition the longevity of your back for a few hockey games in college. The arthritis is something that’s going to be a long term problem. I don’t anticipate him coming back.”

After a breakout year last season in which he was fourth on the team with 16 points (10 goals, six assists) in 26 games, Johnson has dealt with various injuries throughout the current season and was held to one goal and five assists through 17 games.

-Drew Parent

Ice hockey returns with home/away vs. UMBC

To date, there has not yet been a more crucial weekend than this one for Jerry Roberts’ squad.

“This is like our [NHL’s] Flyers and Penguins or our [NFL’s] Eagles and Cowboys,” Roberts said. “This is why guys go to the rink, for [weekends] like this.”

The Owls (13-9) face a home-and-home series with top conference rival University of Maryland-Baltimore County Saturday and Sunday. The Retrievers (13-8) will play host to the Owls Saturday, while Sunday’s contest will take place at Temple’s Northeast Skatezone.

Against a UMBC team that thrives on special teams and the odd-man rush, Roberts stressed the importance of sticking to the game plan and avoiding those killer odd-man rushes.

“In my opinion, our game plan successfully accomplishes two things,” Roberts said. “We’re aggressive, we play the body and it takes a toll on everyone. But we have a safety net in our offensive fore check. We won’t get many two-on-one or three-on-two rushes, but we wear players down and there’s still a level of containment in there. It works well against the weaker teams and when we play better teams, it’s hard to play odd-man rushes against us.”

Cutting down on the penalties will be crucial to maintaining Roberts’ game plan. Temple compiled 196 total penalty minutes through its first 22 games, a number that leads the entire Mid-Atlantic Collegiate Hockey Association and has the Owls well ahead of the runner-up in Liberty University with 161 PIM’s.

The high emotion that comes with big rivalry games such as these can come at a cost, Roberts said.

“In a rivalry game, it’s all about emotion,” Roberts said. “The biggest thing we’re going to focus on is to keep control of our emotions. Emotion is a very dangerous thing. You can use it for good just as easily as you can use it for bad. We need to have our guys to play with emotion and have that extra energy, but they can’t get too emotion and lose focus on the game plan.”

Junior Chris Mullen will get the nod in net this weekend, one in which goaltending will be arguably the biggest factor, Roberts said.

“Goaltending is going to be huge this weekend,” Roberts said. “Mullen’s going to have to step up and play at the same consistent level as he did all last semester. You might see a goaltender’s dual this weekend.”

Temple currently is on the outside looking in for the southeast regional playoff picture, sitting in 11th place. UMBC is sitting comfortably in the fifth spot. The first 10 seeds make the playoffs, making this weekend all that more critical for Roberts’ bunch.

The first bout in the two-game set will take place Saturday in UMBC’s Reisterstown Sportsplex at 4:30 p.m.

-Andrew Parent

Two forwards out for season

Senior ice hockey forwards Chris Brennan and Chris Johnson are both out for the remainder of the academic semester due to injury, coach Jerry Roberts said.

Brennan will sit out due to mild concussion symptoms resulting from a hit taken last week in a 6-2 loss against the University of Maryland. Brennan has a history of concussion-related problems and is being treated with caution this time around as a result.

“He had a doctor appointment this past week and we’re going to give him some time to relax,” Roberts said.“Every injury he has gets a little more serious than the one before. With his history, we want to make sure we aretaking on the proper precautions.”

Meanwhile, Johnson has had complications in dealing with what Roberts termed the “early stages of arthritis” in his back.

“There are long-term concerns for him in life beyond hockey with his back so that’s something we’re concerned about,” Roberts said.“He’s going through a rehab program over [winter break].”

Barring any setbacks, the two seniors are projected to return after the academic break.

Preparation key in taking on Monmouth

Heading into tomorrow’s matchup with top conference rival Penn State, Temple will be looking to gain momentum tonight when it takes on Monmouth University.

The Owls are coming off of a 6-2 loss to the University of Maryland on Nov. 30.

“We made sure in practice this week that we were more aware of our play and how we’re doing instead of worrying about the opposition,” coach Jerry Roberts said.“We know we’re going to go out there and take steps towards making progress and getting to where we need to be.”

The Owls (12-8) are 5-5 in Mid-Atlantic Collegiate Hockey Association play, while Monmouth (5-4) sits at 1-3 in the conference.

Heading into a tough matchup tomorrow night with the ice lions of State College, Roberts knows this one is a must-win.

“It’s not so much about the scoreboard as much as it is playing the right way and making sure we’re prepared properly tomorrow,” Roberts said.“We can win this game tonight by one goal and feel like we aren’t prepared going into tomorrow. We’re looking to do the right things tonight that’ll help tomorrow.”

Junior goalie Chris Mullen will get the nod in net for both weekend games. Senior forwards Chris Brennan and Chris Johnson are both ruled out for the rest of the semester due to injury.

Game time is set for 8:30 p.m.

-Andrew Parent

Ice hockey faces Maryland in MACHA showdown

After a nearly two-week layoff, the Owls will take on  Maryland tonight in its seventh Mid-Atlantic Collegiate Hockey Association contest of the season. It will be the only regular season match-up between the conference rivals this season.

To coach Jerry Roberts, Maryland possesses several similar qualities to a familiar foe.

“They’re a lot like [MACHA rival Rider University],” Roberts said. “[Maryland] has depth. They don’t have any big superstars but they do have a lot of players who are capable of beating you. They played Rider twice, one went to OT and one was a one-goal game. Having not seen them yet [this season], that’s what we’re preparing for.”

Temple (12-7) had previously won four consecutive games before a 6-2 loss to NYU its last time out on Nov. 18. The Owls have won four of their previous five after taking a 9-3 beating from Montclair University on Oct. 27.

“The guys feel confident right now,” Roberts said. “We feel good about the progress we made after the Montclair shellacking. Even after the loss to NYU, we were able to pick up lessons after that game and move forward.”

Temple is 5-4 in MACHA play this season, while Maryland is 3-7. The Owls sit in the 10th and final postseason-qualifying spot in the  American Collegiate Hockey Association Southeast Region, according to the November rankings. Maryland is currently on the outside looking in with the 12th spot.

“The ranking implications of this game are huge,” Roberts said. “You’re expected to beat teams behind you and it’s detrimental to your cause if you can’t beat the teams behind you. … This is a game that we should win and a game that we have to win. We can’t afford to lose this game.”

Senior forward Chris Johnson will be held out due to an upper-body injury, Roberts confirmed. Junior goalie Chris Mullen will get the nod in net.

Game time at Maryland’s Wells Ice Arena is set to start at 8:15 p.m.

-Andrew Parent

St. Joseph’s looking for revenge

Ice hockey will get back at it Saturday as it rides a three-game winning streak into its road matchup with St. Joseph’s at the Skatium Ice Skating Rink in Havertown, Pa.

The Owls (11-6) are coming off a thriller shootout win last Friday night at the dispense of Liberty University, and will look to keep to their winning ways with road games with the Hawks on Saturday and NYU Sunday.

The Hawks (3-8-1) will be looking to avenge this matchup’s last result, an 11-1 Temple rout on Oct. 26.

The Owls currently sit in 13th place in the latest southeast American Collegiate Hockey Association ranking, but sit in a second-place tie with Rowan University in the overall southeast ACHA standings with 22 points.

Temple is will be looking to improve to 3-3 in Mid-Atlantic Collegiate Hockey Association play, while St. Joseph’s will attempt to crack the win column in its fourth MACHA game.

Game time is set for 5:30 p.m.

-Andrew Parent