April 2, 2011

Injury-Plagued Princeton Beats Brown in 4OT

from press release

PRINCETON, N.J. -- Tucker Shanley went from the second midfield to the sideline for three games earlier this season, and unlike 12 other key Princeton players, it wasn't because he was hurt.

"The coaches took me out and told me to keep working hard every day," Shanley said. "So that's what i did. I hit the wall every day, and worked hard against the first defense.

To say that Shanley made the most of his second chance would not be an understatement. Nor would saying that Shanley quite possibly saved Princeton's season Saturday afternoon, when he ended the second-longest game in Princeton history with a goal 1:04 into the fourth overtime to lift the Tigers past Brown 5-4.

It was a game that Princeton desperately needed after four straight losses, including one last week in overtime against Yale. And it hardly came easily.
Princeton's win overshadowed a 20-save performance by Brown goalie Matt Chris on a day when Princeton's Tyler Fiorito made 10 of his own, as the two combined for 30 saves and nine goals against. The teams also combined to go 39 for 39 on clearing attempts.

"To get a win is huge," said Shanley, a sophomore from Fairfield, Conn. "At this stage, we need to start winning. It's one week at a time. And getting a win in the ivy League is especially big."

The win improved Princeton to 2-5 overall and 1-2 in the ivy League and dropped Brown to 3-5, 0-2. Princeton hosts No. 1 Syracuse next Saturday on Powers Field at Princeton Stadium.

"I'm proud of Tucker," said Princeton coach Chris Bates. "He earned the right to be back out there, and he delivered."

Shanley played in Princeton's season opener and did play in the next three games. He returned to score a goal against Penn two weeks ago, and he had two goals for the Tigers against Brown for his first career multi-goal game.

For the Tigers, the four overtime game was 2:21 shorter than the one in 1999 against Syracuse, which Princeton won 15-14 on a goal by Josh Sims. The only other four overtime game in school history was in 1981 against Rutgers, and it ended when the Scarlet Knights scored 11 seconds into the fourth OT.

Historical context was hardly on anyone's mind during the tightly played game, which saw both teams with great opportunities through the overtimes before Shanley ended it.

Princeton and Brown never play high scoring games, with only one meeting in the last 20 years betwen the two having seen both teams reach double figures in goals.

This year's version figured to be even more of a defensive game than usual, as the Bears were without leading scorer Andrew Feinberg, out with a a concussion. And the Tigers? They were playing their first game since All-America attackman's groin injury officially became season-ending, making him the fifth key player to be lost for the year. Princeton also was without senior first midfielder Tyler Moni, out with a wrist injury, as he became the 12th Tiger to miss a game this year from being hurt.

One of those 12 players who has been out, freshman Tom Schreiber, scored once and assisted on Princdeton's first and last goal, both on perfect feeds and both at huge moments.

The first came after Brown had scored the first two of the day, and it looked like the Bears would be up 2-0 after one before Schreiber, with time expiring, found Chris McBride on the crease for a goal with 0.7 seconds left.

For Princeton, being down 2-0 was a change - perhaps a welcome one - after the Tigers four times this year saw leads of at least three goals disappear in games that were eventually lost.

"I think it actually might have been a good thing for us to be down," Bates said. "Certainly the other way hasn't worked out like we'd like."

McBride's goal started Princeton on a four-goal run that lasted into the third quarter and included goals by Schreiber, Shanley and Jeff Froccaro, who made it 4-2 Tigers with 6:45 left in the third.

Brown would go more than 30 minutes without a goal but would rebound to tie the score, first when David Hawley scored with five minutes left in the third and then when Parker Brown made it 4-4 with 7:21 left in regulation.

The game would then be scoreless for the next 20:25 before Shanley won it. In fact, Princeton went scoreless for 34:49 before the game-winner.

From Brown's tying goal until the game-winner, the teams combined for 18 shots, and Princeton outshot Brown 9-4 in the overtimes. Chriss made four overtime saves to two for Fiorito, though Fiorito had the biggest one on a rocket from Hawley midway through the second OT.

Brown, who successfully held off two man-down situations in the OTs, won the face-off for the fourth extra period, but John Cunningham caused a turnover and got possession for the Tigers. After the final successful clear, the Tigers called timeout, and 13 seconds after the restart, Schreiber put it right onto Shanley's stick on the crease, and Shanley flipped it past Chriss.

"The play was designed for Chris McBride," Shanley said. "Two guys went with him, and that left me open."

Princeton outshot Brown 47-28 on a day when both defenses were great. Brown's Peter Fallon and Princeton's Chad Wiedmaier both caused three turnovers.

Ultimately, it all led to Shanley's redemption.

And possibly Princeton's.


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