April 12, 2011

Princeton Rallies for Wild Win Over Rutgers

from press release

NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. - A team on the verge of imploding instead exploded.

The Princeton men's lacrosse team, trailing Rutgers by five goals midway through the third quarter and unable to sustain any offense, erupted to score eight times from that point and then held off the Scarlet Knights in the final seconds to win 11-10 on a wild night in Piscataway.

How wild? Princeton did not take a shot all night that wasn't on goal, as the Tigers took 21 shots and turned them into 11 goals, while RU goalie Rudy Butler made 10 saves. No Princeton shot went wide of the cage.

How wild? The game was delayed by lightning for 75 minutes and then was played on a football practice field in wind, rain and falling temperatures. With two minutes remaining, a brief flicker of lightning could be seen well in the distance, causing Princeton head coach Chris Bates to say "no way."

How wild? Princeton was outshot 42-21 for the game, was outshot in every quarter, won only 5 of 23 face-offs and had a stretch where it scored one goal in nearly 35 minutes - and still won.

How wild? Princeton goalie Tyler Fiorito had to make two saves in the final 20 seconds to keep it from going to overtime.

In the end, Princeton picked up a win it desperately needed, improving to 3-6 on the season while dropping Rutgers to 5-6. Princeton also won the Meistrell Cup, given to the winner of the Princeton-Rutgers game, for the 23rd time in the last 24 years and increased its all-time lead in the series to 57-29-3 as the teams played for the 89th time.

Fiorito finished with 16 saves, one off his career high, and made four of his saves after Jeff Froccaro's third of the night made it 11-10 Princeton with 7:14 to go. Fiorito barely got his stick on a rocket by Scott Klimchak with 19 seconds left and the blocked Duncan Clancy's shot with 13 seconds left. Long Ellis then picked up the ball, ran it near midfield and then threw it high in the air as time expired.

Of course, Fiorito would not have had a lead to protect had it not been for Tom Schreiber, the Princeton freshman who finished with three goals and three assists for a career-best six points. Schreiber, who leads the team in goals (13) and assists (10), was huge all night, with goals in big spots and perfect feeds to set up other finishes, including the game-winner from Froccaro.

Princeton needed only 14 seconds to get on the board on a Luke Armour goal, and it was 2-0 when Froccaro scored three minutes into the game. Rutgers would score five of the next six to go up 5-3 at intermission, and Schreiber's first of the game came on one of only three Princeton shots in the second quarter and would be Princeton's only goal in nearly 35 minutes.

By the time the Tigers scored again, RU had ripped off three more to start the third quarter. Schreiber scored unassisted - all three of his goals were unassisted - to start the comeback with 7:32 to go in the third, and Princeton would cut it to 8-7 by quarter's end and then tie it on Schreiber's third early in the fourth.

Rutgers went up 10-8 with two goals in a 58-second span, but Tucker Shanley scored with 8:48 left and Froccaro tied it eight seconds later after a rare Princeton face-off win.

Schreiber then set up Froccaro perfectly to make it 11-10.

Armour and Chris McBride had two goals each for the Tigers.

Matthew Klimchak had four for the Scarlet Knights.

Princeton plays Dartmouth in the New England Lacrosse Classic Saturday at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Mass., before returning home to take on Harvard and then traveling to Cornell.

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