February 23, 2013

New-Look Princeton Beats Hofstra in Tigers' Opener

from press release

HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. — Chris Bates looked to his left and saw a freshman and to his right and saw a freshman and then laughed.

"We loved the guys who graduated," Bates said. "We also love the guys we have now."

Princeton, starting four freshmen and only one defensive player who had ever started a game before, opened the 2013 season with a 10-7 win over Hofstra in front of 1,556 rain-soaked fans at Shuart Stadium.

Princeton had one freshman start on attack, midfield, defense and in goal while starting only one senior, Jeff Froccaro. It took nearly nine minutes for the rust to wear off, and Princeton then erased a 3-1 deficit by scoring five straight goals to never trail again.

Ryan Ambler, one of the freshmen, led Princeton with a goal and three assists for four points. Mike MacDonald had three goals against Hofstra for the second straight year, and Froccaro, Tom Schreiber and Kip Orban had two each.

Princeton now leads the all-time series against Hofstra 14-13.


Senior Bobby Lucas won 6 of 8 face-offs in the second half, including all four in the fourth quarter. Lucas also had a team-high six ground balls.

Lucas' ability to control possession prevented Hofstra from ever getting on a big run in the second half. Twice Lucas won face-offs after Hofstra goals that led directly to Princeton goals on that possession.


Princeton led 6-3 at the half and had an extra man opportunity to start the third quarter. Hofstra was able to kill off the one-minute of penalty time with a save by goalie Chris Selva, who then ran the ball up the far side of the field, across the midline and then near the box, where he noticed a wide-open Torin Varn on the crease. Selva fed Varn, who scored to make it 6-4. Hofstra, with veteran face-off man John Antonaides, had all the momentum. Instead, Bobby Lucas won the face-off, and one minute later Kip Orban turned the game back around when he scored from Jeff Froccaro on that possession to make it 7-4.


Princeton graduated goalie Tyler Fiorito, defensemen Chad Wiedmaier and Jonathan Meyers and longstick midfielder John Cunningham. Returning starting defenseman Rob Castelo is out for the year with a torn ACL. Those players combined for 11 All-America selections and 13 All-Ivy seletions, as well as 253 career starts. A year ago, Hofstra scored six goals against Princeton. This year, without any of them, Hofstra scored seven. Princeton's defense consisted of a freshman goalie (Matt O'Connor), a freshman defenseman (Mark Strabo), a converted LSM (Derick Raabe) and shortstick defensive middie (Nick Fernandez), and two longstick midfielders (Alex Beatty, Brandon Bonvino) with almost no game experience. Princeton does have veterans Chris White and Jack Strabo at shortstick defensive middie.


Hofstra scored three goals in the first 8:42 of the game and then four more goals in the final 51:18. Princeton scored one goal in the first 13:35 and then nine in the final 46:25.


Mike MacDonald now has six goals on nine shots in two career games against Hofstra. Tom Schreiber has seven goals and five assists in three games against Hofstra.


Princeton is at Johns Hopkins Friday at 5. The game can be seen on ESPNU.

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