For the Princeton Tigers, a 2-0 start to the season is a welcome one.
After an abysmal 1-5 start in 2011, Princeton was looking to stay true to their new-and-improved form as they hosted the Manhattan College Jaspers on Tuesday afternoon.
With a short turn around off of their 12-6 victory over Hofstra on Saturday, the Tigers looked to test their conditioning and mental toughness by taking on a Manhattan team that got crushed by Lehigh 13-0 in their season opener.
Although a complete mismatch on paper, Princeton had to stay focused on the task at hand. A classic "trap game," the Tigers had to be careful not to overlook the Tuesday match up in anticipation of a prime time showdown with Johns Hopkins on Friday night.
In impressive fashion, Princeton headlined the Ivy-League honors over the weekend.
Freshman Mike MacDonald took Rookie of the Week Honors for his hat trick against Hofstra, along with Player of the Week honors for sophomore Tom Schreiber.
Schreiber stayed true to his impeccable form, scoring three goals and four assists in a refreshing romping of the Pride at home.
Coming into Tuesday's match up, the Tigers were without their All-American goalie Tyler Fiorito, who opted out of today's game to rest his knee. This decision was made by both coach and player, agreeing that two games in four days was too great an injury risk this early in the season.
This opened the door for freshman goalie Eric Sanschagrin, who excelled in net.
Sanschagrin ended the day with 11 saves, and also directed the defense well. He was able to stay calm between the pipes and gain confidence as his minutes wore on. This was an opportunity for Sanschagrin to show the coaches his abilities, as a replacement is needed for Tyler Fiorito next season.
Even more impressive however, was the consistent dominance of midfielder/attackman Tom Schreiber. With four more goals and an assist in the win over Manhattan, he now has 13 points in a four-day span. His superb play will continue to set the tone for the Tigers, and his success will dictate how far the Tigers will go this season.
Tucker Shanley also continues to impress at the midfield position. With two goals today, his confidence is on the rise, something head coach Chris Bates is thrilled about. His ability to initiate the dodge and finish with both hands makes him a perfect compliment to Schreiber's game-play.
At the face-off X, Bobby Lucas turned in another dominant performance, winning 12 of 15 draws in the first three quarters. Success in this dimension of the game led to a dominant time of possession for the Tigers—something they've grown accustom to in their first two games.
Seeing his first minutes of the season, sophomore Luke Armour added two assists at attack. His ability to run the offense from behind is a change-up for Princeton, who often looks to Schreiber up top to distribute. By switching the point of initiation, the Tigers can be more versatile against good opponents.
After a successful first game at attack, converted midfielder Jeff Froccaro added a goal and an assist in the dominant win over the Jaspers.
One goal performances were also turned in by Mike Grossman, Forest Sonnenfeldt, Jack Strabo, Mike MacDonald, Mark Feild and Kip Orban. Will Himler and defenseman Jonathan Myers each chipped in with an assist.
Grossman, a senior attackman turned midfielder, also turned in an assist on the day. Even more impressive, Grossman was hustling hard on the ride, causing turnovers and wreaking havoc on the Manhattan clearing game.
On defense, Princeton allowed seven goals to a Manhattan team who had yet to find the back of the net this year. The senior leadership of Chad Weidmaier and John Cunningham once again proved to be enough to lead their freshman goalie to a successful debut.
After three quarters of work with their starters, the fourth quarter saw the Tigers empty their bench to evaluate the talent on the rest of their roster. Sophomore Brian Kavanagh saw time in net for the Tigers, making no saves in fifteen minutes of action.
In the final quarter, the Tiger defense consisted of senior Mike Flanagan, senior Billy Coughlin sophomore Rob Posniewski. Flanagan, a staple on the Tiger man-down defensive unit, showed great hustle and denied scoring opportunities late in the game.
Sophomore Brandon Bonvino saw his first minutes of the year, running the long stick midfield position.
The Tigers were still without the services of attackmen Cliff Larkin and Hunter DeButts, who have been sidelined for both games this season. With their return anticipated for Friday, Princeton will add quickness and depth to an already deep and impressive attacking core.
Manhattan's Brian McGrath scored three goals in the loss. His lefty, behind-the-back goal in the fourth quarter may have been the play of the day.
The Jasper's Matt Thistle added two goals and four assists on the day, while freshman goalie Michael Wiatrak had 15 saves in an impressive showing.
Looking forward, the Tigers will host No. 2 Johns Hopkins on Friday night at 5pm.
The game can be seen nationally on ESPNU. It can also be heard via radio on 103.3FM WPRB Princeton, or streamed on-line at WPRB.com.
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