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.

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

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

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

Pisko suspension upheld

A small committee of Mid-Atlantic Collegiate Hockey Association board members has upheld the six-game suspension of ice hockey junior forward Joe Pisko, coach Jerry Roberts confirmed Thursday.

The decision was announced Tuesday morning.

Pisko’s six-game suspension was a result his role in the late-game brawl that broke out toward the end of an Oct. 13 loss at Rowan.

“The appeal is handed out by the same people who handed out the suspension, so the chance of them admitting they were wrong is minimal,” Roberts said. “They put together a small committee to determine what they felt was an appropriate suspension.”

Pisko will remain inactive until Friday, Nov. 9 when the Owls take on Liberty University at home.

Junior goalie Chris Mullen, who was handed a three-game suspension from the board after the Rowan game, will serve the final game remaining on his suspension Friday against St. Joseph’s University. He will be back Saturday when Temple takes on Montclair University away.

-Andrew Parent

Ice hockey regulars suspended after brawl

The Mid-Atlantic Collegiate Hockey Association handed out suspensions to three key Temple ice hockey regulars Thursday as a result of a late-game brawl that broke out during the closing seconds of Temple’s 5-2 defeat at Rowan University last Saturday.

Junior forward Joe Pisko received the biggest blow with a six-game suspension pending a Temple appeal. Junior goalie Chris Mullen got slapped with a three-game ban due to getting into a scuffle with Rowan senior goalie Brien Bennett.

Freshman forward Jayson Marbach served his one-game suspension in Temple’s loss against Virginia Tech Friday night.

“The conference went back and reviewed it and handed out the penalty they felt was necessary,” Roberts said. “Anytime you have players taken out of the lineup you’re not going to agree with it.”

-Andrew Parent