Tuesday night provided a beautiful backdrop as the Princeton Tigers made the short trip to take on in-state rival Rutgers. Princeton entered the game ranked No. 9 in the country, but in need of quality wins to improve their at-large chances at an NCAA tournament birth.
Every year, Princeton and Rutgers play for the Meistrell Cup, a tradition that has seen Princeton walk away with the trophy for an outstanding 24 of the last 25 years.
Heading into the game, one of Rutgers' strengths was their goaltending from freshman Kris Alleyne. Unfortunately for the Scarlet Knights, Alleyne missed Tuesday's game due to an injury, and left a huge void on the back end of the Rutgers defense. Steven Lusby got the start for RU, but was replaced by Jake Andersen after Lusby made no saves and was having trouble with a potent Princeton attack.
Princeton was lead on offense early by Luke Armour. Armour had yet to play in a game this season due to injury, but came back in a big way as he replaced Ryan Ambler in the starting line-up. Ambler missed the game due to an injury, and will hopefully return to the line-up against Dartmouth this weekend. Armour had three goals in short order, while All-American Tom Schreiber shined with three goals and an assist of his own.
Jeff and Jake Froccaro also continued their tremendous point totals, combining for six points on the evening. Jeff, a senior, and Jake, a freshman, obviously have chemistry from the days in the backyard, but have now proven that it translates to the Division I level.
Tiger goaltender Matt O'Conner rebounded from an inconsistent game against Syracuse with a solid performance Tuesday evening. The freshman made 12 saves on his way to a 60 percent save rate.
Rutgers offense was quite impressive as well. Matthew Klimchak recorded three goals and an assist on the night and proved to be a nuisance to guard inside the crease area. Klimchak's brother Scott also added two goals for the Scarlet Knights.
With the win, Princeton improved to 7-3, while Rutgers fell to 2-10. Rutgers has played extremely tough throughout the season, but closing out games has proven to be a big issue as their losing streak continues.
Rutgers' schedule does not get any easier, as they must travel to Syracuse to take on a powerful Orange squad in the carrier dome this weekend.