Princeton @ Penn, 4.10.07 Game Story The Princeton Tigers beat the Penn Quakers tonight, 10-5. The Quakers jumped out to a 2-0 lead and managed to hold Princeton scoreless until 8:41 remained in the first half. Princeton then reeled off the next eight goals as they rolled to the 10-5 victory. Senior Peter Trombino led the way for Princeton with two goals and two assists, while sophomore Tommy Davis added a hat trick and both Scott Sowanick (2 g) and Alex Haynie added two points apiece (1g, 1a). Senior Alex Salihi paced the Quakers with two goals and an assist.
Philadelphia, PA – Early on it looked like Penn was on track to get its first win over its Garden State rival Princeton since 1989. They drew first blood just 1:31 in as J.J. Lian added an unassisted goal. Following that, Alex Salihi would add a man-up goal off a Craig Andrzejewski feed. Salihi would again convert on the man-up to round off his three point performance.
While Penn managed to hold Princeton to a scoring drought, they themselves would enter one following Salihi’s goal. Penn controlled the ball for much of the first quarter in what would prove to be their most productive quarter. They generated ten shots, only two of which Princeton All-American goalie Alex Hewitt saved and only two found the back of the net, six sailed wide. Their 2nd goal came at the 10:46 mark of the 1st quarter; unfortunately their 3rd goal wouldn’t fall until there was just 3:06 remaining in the 3rd quarter. Good for a 37 minute and 40 second drought.
In between those goals, Princeton found somewhat of a rhythm offensively and reeled off eight straight goals. It took them 21 minutes to get rolling, but after Tommy Davis added his first with 8:41 to play in the half on a man-up, they started to click. Their passes and offense appeared to have more purpose and they started to generate open looks inside. Spread between long possessions and roughly three minute gaps, Davis added his and the team’s 2nd, followed by Whitney Hayes from Alex Haynie for their 3rd, and then Haynie from Peter Trombino just before the break. A commanding 2-0 Penn lead diminished in 8:41 to a 4-2 Princeton halftime lead.
At the half, it became evident that longtime Princeton coach Bill Tierney was not in his normal role as coach. He was standing at the end of the Princeton bench and not addressing anyone. A referee was overheard saying that Tierney was serving a one game suspension for an administrative error regarding an eligibility issue with a player and a fifth year. No further information was available, except that Tierney didn’t address his team during play, timeouts or at the half. He spent the entire game at the end of the bench, appearing to be fighting to hold back the countless things he appeared to want to say. He did, however, go through the handshake at the end of the game as normal.
Neither team could strike early in the 2nd half, until the wheels came off a little bit for Penn and Princeton capitalized. They added three goals in a three minute stretch and then their 8th goal to cap the 8-0 run with 6:17 left in the 3rd. Penn would fight back and cut the lead to 8-4, only to have Princeton add another last minute goal to send the game 9-4 into the final period. Penn had ample possession time in the 4th quarter, but seemed to have trouble getting out of their normally patient offense to make up the ground they had lost and cut into the lead. Peter Trombino added an insurance goal with 10:58 left to stretch it to 10-4. Salihi’s 2nd man-up goal made it 10-5.
Neither team looked especially sharp on offense tonight. Both play a patient slow-down style, not afraid to work it around two or three times before initiating a dodge. A lot of the dodges are designed to get things moving, not to score right off of them. Princeton was able to capitalize on some quicker looks, which ultimately proved to be the difference. Penn, on the other hand, struggled to get inside shots, and the shots they did generate were off-target more often than on. Statistically it was a draw. Penn had one more shot (30 vs. 29), Princeton had two more groundballs (16 vs. 14), Penn won one more face-off (10 vs. 9), Princeton had a little better success clearing the ball (88% vs. 75%) and Penn had two more turnovers (11 vs. 9). Neither goalie was tested often. Penn’s Chris Casey stopped 8 of the 18 shots Princeton put on goal, while Hewitt stopped 5 of the 10 Penn managed to get on goal.
Penn travels to Brown this weekend to wrap up their Ivy League schedule. A win would give them a .500 record in the Ivy. In order to make the NCAA tournament, Penn would likely need to win out: winning at Brown, and by beating Maryland and Denver at Franklin Field. Without those wins, Penn doesn’t have much chance of squeezing into the field.
Sitting at 7-2, Princeton now enters the stretch run of their Ivy League schedule. Harvard travels down to play them this weekend before a week of rest leading up to a much anticipated match-up @ Cornell. Princeton is the biggest hurdle standing in the way of Cornell’s perfect regular season.
|Alex Salihi||(2, 1)|
|Craig Andrzejewski||(0, 2)|
|Drew Collins||(1, 0)|
|Jj Lian||(1, 0)|
|Casey O'rourke||(1, 0)|
|Chris Casey||8 (0.444)|