Princeton vs. Rutgers
April 25, 2006
The Game Story:
After 15 minutes, Rutgers had the Meistrell Cup and the momentum on its bench. A little more than 10 minutes later, the Scarlet Knights essentially were left with neither.

Princeton scored five straight goals in the first 10:15 of the second quarter to erase an early Rutgers lead and propel the seventh-ranked Tigers to an 11-5 win over the Scarlet Knights in the 84th meeting between the schools in a rivalry that dates to 1888.

The win gave Princeton back the Meistrell Cup, which is awarded annually to the winner of the game, after Rutgers held the trophy since last year's win over Princeton. The Tigers had won the previous 15 meetings before 2005.

Princeton (8-4) used a combination of aggressive offense and more outstanding goalie play from Alex Hewit for the win. Hewit, who made 15 saves while allowing four goals in a tough 4-3 loss to Cornell Saturday, made 13 more saves against the Knights (5-7) while allowing four goals before leaving early in the fourth quarter with a big lead. Hewit upped his Division I-best save percentage to .670 and lowered his goals-against average to 5.77.

Offensively, Princeton took 39 shots, which was exactly three times as many as the 13 that Princeton took in the loss to Cornell.

"I thought we were much more relaxed offensively," said Tiger freshman Mark Kovler, who had a pair of goals to give him 14 for the season. "Rutgers has a great goalie, and he made some saves early and throughout the game, but we were relaxed. We kept taking shots and were able to take control."

The game was even at 1-1 when Rutgers appeared to grab the momentum with a goal by Austin Rodgers with 2.6 seconds remaining in the first quarter. That momentum would last 10 seconds.

Princeton gained possession to start the second quarter after a procedure violation on the face-off, and Josh Lesko cashed in just seven seconds later to tie the score at 2-2. Within the next 10 minutes, the Tigers seized control of the game, as Rich Sgalardi, Peter Trombino, Zach Goldberg and finally Kovler scored to make it 6-2. Even after Rutgers scored again before halftime, Princeton scored the first four of the second half to make it 10-3.

Kovler, Trombino and Alex Haynie had two goals each for Princeton, which marked the first time in three games that a Tiger player had scored more than one in a game. Scott Sowanick had a goal and three assists.

Rutgers senior goalie Greg Havalchak made 13 saves.

Princeton now faces Dartmouth Saturday and Brown the following Saturday in the final two regular season games. The Tigers can gain no worse than a share of the Ivy League title by winning both, though Cornell would win the automatic bid and at least a share of the title with a win over Brown this weekend.