Navy won the opening draw and immediately brought it down with numbers. Attackman Jon Birsner got his d man hung up, but they decided to wait it out and look for other options. The slow down style wasn’t much of a surprise considering both teams have relied on patient, opportunistic offenses all season long. Though Navy’s opportunities do seem to come a lot more often.
Navy had a great look with a wideopen man on the crease to start the game off, but the feed was deflected and it was now Princeton’s turn to pass the ball around and wait. With over two minutes of possession time and no shots, the ball was cleared by Navy and the Mids went back to work. After only one shot in the opening six minutes, Navy midfielder Adam Reel took a solo dodge from out top, ending up with almost no angle off the low pipe. He fired the jumping righty high to low shot past goalie Dave Law for the first goal of the game.
Navy again won the faceoff and worked it around getting a good look with a tremendous stop and sprint move from behind by Birsner, which by all means should have ended in a goal. Law managed to grab a hold of the ball and clear it out however. The stop didn’t mean much though, as the stifling Navy defense immediately had the ball moving in the other direction. They again worked it around and found what they were looking for in the stick of midfielder Graham Gill. Gill dodged from down low lefty, came up high and looked like he decided to pull it back behind. But as soon as his D man threw his stick to cover stick, Gill rolled back up field and fired the diving shot past Law.
Princeton finally managed to win a faceoff and kicked the ball around until Whitney Hayes found Drew Casino out top who let the righty cannon go to bring the Tigers within one. 2-1 Navy. Princeton stormed right back and got the game tying goal from Mac Bryson out top, after catching the Ryan Boyle feed off the dodge from X. The Midshipmen won their fifth of six faceoffs on the next draw and again waited patiently for something to show. Graham Gill found what he was looking for and dodged unassisted from the top right. He made the right to left split and let a jumping shot go for the 3-2 Navy lead to end the quarter.
Princeton tied the game at 3 with another Mac Bryson goal from out top to open the second quarter scoring. John Robinson dodged from behind and found Bryson alone out top. Byson took three steps in, set his feet, and fired the high to high rip past goalie Matt Russell. Navy dominated most of the period, but neither team was able to notch another goal until just under two minutes left, as hardnosed defense was the constant theme. The midshipmen went up by one as Ben Bailey faked a sidearm shot from the right side only to let one rip to the nearside corner. Navy again won the following faceoff and again got the ball to Ben Bailey on the right side of the goal. Bailey decided to switch things up this time and picked the top right corner to sting with a low to high shot.
After almost ten minutes of scoreless play, the sudden influx of goals was a surprising change. After the next faceoff it was Princeton’s turn to let one rip, as faceoff man and physical specimen Drew Casino (6-3, 235) dodged lefty from out top and broke his way past his defenseman. Casino switched back to his right hand a few steps outside the crease and put the ball past Russell to bring the Tigers within one. It was the final goal of the half, as Navy went into the locker rooms with a 5-4 lead.
The second half opened with some serious stick checks on Ryan Boyle in the corner, eventually drawing enough attention that the refs threw the slashing flag. The man up was worked around eventually leading to a one on one for a Princeton attackman and Navy goalie Matt Russell. The Tiger attackman caught the pass right on the crease and went high, but was absolutely stoned by Russell who made the stop and controlled the ball as he was falling backward into the crease.
The ball went up and down the field for the next several minutes eventually leading to a Tim Sullivan clear from the defensive end. The longstick crossed the midline, getting a step on the riding Navy midfielder, and sprinted toward the crease alone with only the goalie to beat. Rather than take the shot, Sullivan decided to let the more experienced offensive player finish it off and hit Boyle who was coming around from behind the goal. Boyle caught the pass and tied the game at five with around 7 minutes left in the third.
After a long Navy possession, Adam Reel found Joe Bossi coming around the goal line extended and Bossi faked low, finishing high for the one goal lead, 6-5. After winning yet another faceoff, they were 12-15 at this point, Billy Looney dodged unassisted from the top right across the front of the goal and ripped an absolute cannon past Dave Law’s stick. Law thought Looney was aiming for a corner, but he put it exactly where Law’s stick was only seconds earlier. 7-5 Navy to start the fourth.
Neither team had a very good opportunity for much of the start again, until Ryan Boyle dodged from the low right with the hopes of getting something going. While Boyle didn’t get the look himself, he did manage to attract the attention of the Navy defense who ended up leaving Mac Bryson alone out top. Bryson set his feet and ripped a shot high to high to bring them within one.
Princeton managed to control the next faceoff and again got some great offensive looks, ending up with a pipe shot from Jason Donegar. While Russell was definitely out of position on the shot, it was hard enough to send to the ball out to the restraining line where it was picked up by the Navy long stick midfielder. The long stick took it the length of the field and managed to get a fast break out of it. He hit Ian Dingman on the point of the attack triangle, who sent the ball down to Jon Birsner. Birsner faked high, shot high, something usually not recommended, but managed to beat Law on the doorstep. 8-6 Navy.
Joe Bossi had a chance to seal it with around five minutes to go, in almost identical fashion as Birsner, but was absolutely stuffed on a fake low, high shot. Matt Russell then made an equally stunning save on the very next possession but it was all for naught, as Peter Trombino continued the game of catch up, bringing Princeton back within one.
In an eerie fit of déjà vu, Princeton was forced to use Dave Law to shut off, while they chased down the sprinting Navy players. Navy did everything perfect, eventually leading to a wide open shot with no goalie in the cage, and took it from two feet outside the crease. In a coach’s worst nightmare, the shot hit pipe and bounced outside the box.
Princeton ball 30 seconds left. They clear the ball and call time out with 21 seconds left, immediately going to the goal when the clock starts again. They get a decent shot that’s blocked and the ball bounces directly out in front of the goal. Peter Trombino finds himself alone and picks up the ball, rolling to the middle of the field with under 10 seconds on the clock. He fires the shot and Russell immediately snatches it up with 7 seconds to play. Russell stays in the crease, running behind the goal, and sends the ball flying to close out the game. 8-7 Navy.
|Ben Bailey||(2, 0)|
|Adam Reel||(1, 1)|
|Billy Looney||(1, 1)|
|Graham Gill||(2, 0)|
|Ian Dingman||(0, 1)|
|Joe Bossi||(1, 0)|
|Jon Birsner||(1, 0)|
|Matt Russell||5 (0.417)|