When Princeton made the blueprint for a successful 2014 season, it had a formula like the one it used in its Ivy League opener against Penn in mind.
Princeton was looking for an efficient – at times unstoppable – offense, some big possession wins on face-offs and big saves at the right time. Sure, the Tigers figured to give up goals, so games when both teams would reach double figures would be fine.
And that’s exactly how it played out Saturday afternoon, when Princeton got all of the above, and the resulting huge win that went along with it.
Mike MacDonald had seven points, Ryan Ambler and Tom Schreiber had four goals and one assist each and Princeton answered any time it had to in a 15-12 win over Penn in front of 1,558 at Sherrerd Field at Class of 1952 Stadium. Isaac Bock of Penn joined Amlber and Schreiber with four goals and one assist of his own.
The win improved Princeton to 3-2, 1-0 in the Ivy League and came at the start of a huge week, one that will see the Tigers travel to Villanova Tuesday night and then Yale Saturday. Penn is 3-2, 0-1 in the IvY League.
Princeton snapped a two-game losing streak after tough losses to Johns Hopkins and North Carolina.
PLAYER OF THE GAME – Mike MacDonald had two goals and a career-high five assists, giving him seven points for the afternoon. MacDonald continued his run of assists, after having his previous career high of four last weekend against North Carolina. In fact, MacDonald had 28 assists in his first 35 career games, an average of 0.8 per game. In his last two, he has nine assists, or 4.5 per game. He also has nearly one-quarter of his career assists (24.3%) in the last two games.
TURNING POINT OF THE GAME – Princeton would build leads and Penn would answer, and the late part of the third quarter was more of the same. The Tigers led 8-5 at halftime and scored the first goal of the third quarter (by Ambler), but Penn would make it a 9-8 game with 10 minutes left in the third after three goals in 1:17. Princeton went back up 11-8 on goals from Schreiber and Ambler, but again Penn made it a one-goal game, at 11-10, with 2:21 in the third. Just as Penn looked like it was going to make it a tight fourth quarter, Princeton scored twice in the final 52 seconds of the third, on goals from Kip Orban and Ambler, both from MacDonald. Princeton built it to 15-10 in the fourth before Penn scored the final two.
PLAY OF THE GAME – Princeton’s Justin Murphy won the face-off after Kip Orban’s goal with 52 seconds left in the third quarter, and Penn would commit a slash with 27 seconds left. Instead of holding for possession to start the fourth quarter, MacDonald fed Ambler on the crease, and Ambler finished with nine seconds left in what was a back-breaking goal. Ambler caught the ball and finished in major crease traffic.
CAREER HIGH – Matt O’Connor had a career-high 13 saves, after having five 12-save games prior to this. O’Connor made nine of his 13 saves in the second half. Ryan Ambler’s four goals were a career-high as well.
SCHREIBER UPDATE – Tom Schreiber leads the team with 14 goals and 24 points. He also has 90 career goals and 83 career assists, making him the only player in program history with at least 90 goals and at least 80 assists in a career. His 173 career points leave him one away from tying Wick Sollers for seventh all-time at Princeton and are 32 more than the next highest total by a Princeton midfielder. He also has at least three points in 21 straight games, at least three points in 42 of 49 career games and at least one point in 37 straight games.
STREAKS – Kip Orban extended his streak of at least one goal to 18 straight games and at least one point to 20 straight games. Mike MacDonald has at least one goal in 15 straight games and at least one point in 20 straight games.
POSSESSION – Derick Raabe had seven ground balls and two caused turnovers. Justin Murphy won 16 of 31 face-offs, with eight ground balls.
HISTORY – Princeton is 10-0 all-time against Penn at Class of 1952 Stadium. Princeton also leads the overall series 64-18.