The final 37 seconds against No. 5 Princeton proved to be Yale’s undoing on Saturday.
Midfielder Jeff Froccaro scored the game-winning goal right before time expired to propel the Tigers (6–1, 2–0 Ivy) to a 7–6 win against the No. 19 Elis (4–2, 0–2) after four quarters of back-and-forth play at Reese Stadium.
“It was just a really close game,” midfielder Max Rodman ’10 said. “I don’t think we ever got a lead by more than one goal the whole game — both teams were working their asses off and playing really hard.”
It looked like the Elis would post the opening goal of the game when attacker Brendan Gibson ’10 hit the top right corner of the net from the edge of the crease. But Gibson’s shot glanced out of the tightly strung net and officials did not rule the shot a goal.
Princeton was the first to get on the board with 13:47 left in the first quarter, when attacker Jack McBride scored on an unassisted shot. The Elis tied it up shortly after that when midfielder Jerome Arnold ’10 found the back of the net.
The Tigers made it 2–1 with 6:20 left, but an unassisted goal by attacker Matt Gibson ’12 with 1:43 remaining tied things up right before the first quarter ended.
The score remained close throughout the second frame as well. After five minutes of scoreless play, the Bulldogs capitalized when attacker Brian Douglass ’11 scored off a feed from Brendan Gibson. Princeton pulled ahead with a pair of unassisted goals by attacker Chris McBride and Jack McBride in the next six minutes, but midfielder Matt Miller ’12 tied the score at four as the game headed into halftime.
Princeton outshot Yale 19–16 after the first two frames and recorded a 14–13 advantage in ground balls heading into the intermission.
Midfielder Matt Fuchs ’10 scored the sole goal of the third quarter at 9:07 after the restart, giving the Elis a slim 5–4 lead as the final quarter began.
“I think that we kind of set the level of energy,” head coach Andy Shay said. “When you play a team like that, you’ve got to play really hard and I think we did. It ended up being a really exciting game for sure.”
But things started to unravel for the Bulldogs when a series of penalties was called on Yale during the last 15 minutes.
Princeton’s Jack McBride capitalized on his team’s second man-up opportunity in the fourth quarter when he scored his third goal of the game with 10:31 left to play.
Then a cross-checking penalty was called on Miller with 8:12 remaining, and Tiger Chris McBride tallied another goal with the single-man advantage to give the visitors a 6–5 edge.
Shay said Miller’s hit did not deserve a penalty.
“I thought he made a great play,” Shay said. “I watched the film and I think they called it a cross-check and there’s no way. It was a great hit, and it’s really unfortunate that it came down to that.”
The Bulldogs scored a man–up goal of their own with three minutes left on the clock to tie the game at six. But after nearly 60 minutes of back-and-forth battling, Princeton had the final say when Froccaro tallied the game-winning goal 37 seconds before time ran out.
Rodman won 10 of 16 faceoffs on Saturday and goalie Johnathan Falcone ’11 racked up eight saves.
But both Rodman and Falcone said that Princeton’s goalie Tyler Fiorito really made the difference in the contest.
Fiorito racked up 15 saves throughout his four quarters in net, holding the Elis to only six goals even though Yale outshot Princeton 39–34.
“Their goalie definitely had a great game,” Falcone said. “The kid stepped up for his team. He got hot in the fourth quarter and he rode that.”
Added Rodman, “We got tons off shots but their goalie just played out of his mind.”
Princeton and Brown now top the Ancient standings with identical 2–0 conference records. Yale trails in fifth after two losses to begin league play.
The Elis return to Reese Stadium at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday to host Penn.