With a beautiful day in scenic New Jersey as the backdrop, the Princeton Tigers faced the Syracuse Orangemen in what would prove to be a tremendous game. Each team came out hard, however it was Princeton who was doing most of the damage in the first half. Jason Doneger was feeling it in the first and second, firing home three goals with his notorious outside rocket of a shot, leaving Cuse goalie Jay Pfeifer stopped in his tracks. While the Tigers’ D was containing the extremely potent Orangemen attack, Syracuse middie Kevin Dougherty started his day off right scoring Cuse’s only two goals before Brian Nee got his first of the game with about three minutes left in the half. Mike Powell dodged from the right side, drawing all of the attention, and hit a cutting Nee who fired the lefty shot home, bringing the score to 7-3.
Powell then got himself into the goal column with just over a minute left in the half on an unassisted dodge, leaving the score at 7-4. Both teams had been their their usual selves thus far, with Princeton exhibiting their extremely patient offense, backed primarily by inverts to slow the game down, while Syracuse used their run and gun style a little too effectively, often throwing the ball away and making too many mental mistakes.
After a timeout with about 15 seconds left in the 1st half, Syracuse’s frustrations became evident as they attempted to get the last shot; emphasis on the word attempted. After two different players dodged hoping to find an opening, the half ended with the ball on the turf and Cuse down 7-4.
While Princeton was obviously the better team in the first half, it appeared as if Cuse was beginning to put something tremendous together. They began being a bit more meticulous on offense and it seemed as if they couldn’t lose a faceoff leading into the half. Goalie Jay Pfeifer also started to shut it down in the cage, as he appeared to still be carrying some of the Hopkins baggage from last week early in the game. All in all, it wasn’t a very exciting game in the first, as one can only take so much of the Princeton invert and Cuse just wasn’t on target yet. However, the 5,021 fans would soon find out that the second half wasn’t going to disappoint.
Princeton’s patient offense once again took the field to start the second half as the ball was worked around, finally ending up in Whitney Hayes’ stick at X. Hayes managed to get matched up with a short stick and immediately called for the iso from behind; making one quick move and beating his man top side off the invert dodge to go up 8-4.
Syracuse stormed right back after winning the ensuing face off, they dominated faceoffs throughout winning 21-29, and began working the ball around. Mike Powell dodged from low, drawing all of the attention, and hit Alex Zink outside the crease who fired it home for the goal. Several minutes later, Kevin Dougherty scored his second of the day from out top with a right to left split, hitting the overhand lefty shot off side hip to bring them within two, 8-6.
The edge would momentarily swing back to Princeton however, as an Orangemen mental mistake let them back in. After a hard ride, Syracuse was called for a 10 second violation and Senior attackman Ryan Boyle showed his leadership abilities, breaking towards the goal as soon as the whistle blew. As a Princeton player picked up the ball on the sideline, Boyle was wide open directly behind goal line extended and called for the ball. After catching the pass, and more importantly drawing all the attention, Boyle hit a streaking Scott Sowanick who put in the easy quick stick.
The momentum wouldn’t last long however, as Cuse would go on a three goal unanswered tear culminating in the finest goal of the day, which also tied it up at nine. Jarett Park picked the ball up off the faceoff and took it into their offensive end with numbers. Park cut down the front right of the goal and hit a streaking Brian Nee who was moving towards the goal from down low. The pass was slightly behind him but Nee caught it with no problem and no look flipped it back handed past goalie Dave Law to even the score.
Each team fought back and forth for the remainder of the period without a score until 1 minute was left on the clock. Princeton midfielder Drew Casino dodged righty from out top and after getting some defensive pressure, rolled into a lefty sweep across the front of the cage. Getting some space between himself and the defender, Casino jumped and fired the lefty bounce shot hitting just below the top crossbar as Cuse goalie Jay Pfeifer was still going low; Princeton up 10-9. Syracuse went on to win the final faceoff, however they once again failed to capitalize on the opportunity.
Although Syracuse finally managed to pull themselves together, they were still not getting the spark they needed to take control of the game. What they needed eventually came through in the fourth, as Kevin Dougherty and Sean Lindsay each fired home two fourth quarter goals for Cuse, finally allowing for them to take the lead at 13-11. Dougherty was the man from outside ending up with four goals total, including two game tying goals, while Lindsay got his first and second of the game back to back giving Cuse the two goal lead.
One minute after Lindsays’ final goal, Steve Lykudis put Syracuse up by three with another outside shot at around 5 minutes left. The tide had fully turned on the Tigers and there was little they could do but watch as Syracuse scored goal upon goal, thanks primarily to their dominating play on faceoffs. As the clock ticked down and the Princeton faithful started squirming in their seats, Ryan Boyle offered them a glimmer of hope with a remarkable play from in tight off a double team. As the two Cuse defenders converged, Boyle squeezed between them and fired home their 12th goal of the game while falling to the turf right outside the crease.
Princeton then went on to ride the ball back on two separate occasions in the
last minute of play, however were unable to get anything going. 14 –12 final.
Both teams needed this win, and it showed in their play, however it was
Syracuse who may have had the ultimate motivation as they have no AQ to claim.
While the Tigers have had a less than stellar year thus far, it really hasn’t
been much different than any of the past seasons. Regardless of how they start
they always find a way to get invited to the big dance, and this year should be
|Ryan Boyle||(3, 3)|
|Jason Doneger||(3, 0)|
|Whitney Hayes||(1, 1)|
|Peter Trombino||(1, 0)|
|Mac Bryson||(1, 0)|
|Jim O'brien||(1, 0)|
|Scott Sowanick||(1, 0)|
|Drew Casino||(1, 0)|
|Dave Law||10 (0.417)|