Princeton wins rematch against Cornell to advance to Ivy League title game
PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- Princeton scored an 11-7 win against Cornell in the Ivy League tournament semifinals on Friday, led by a huge night by freshman goalie Tyler Blaisdell and Princeton's defense and another record-setting night from senior Mike MacDonald.
Princeton will take on Yale in the championship game on Sunday at noon on Brown's Stevenson Field.
MacDonald broke Jon Hess' school record for points in a season with four goals and two assists, giving him 47 goals and 30 assists for 77 points, better than the 74 Hess had in 1997. MacDonald also joined Dave Tickner as the only two players in program history with a season of at least 30 goals and 30 assists.
The win against Cornell came six days after the Big Red had defeated Princeton 15-10 in Ithaca, New York in a game that saw Princeton led 5-0 after one and then Cornell score nine unanswered in the second quarter. Princeton would not recover from that and got no closer than two the rest of the way.
Princeton won just nine of 29 faceoffs in that game, but the Tigers made some huge adjustments, having Zach Currier take all of the faceoffs and moving Adam Hardej and Sam Gravitte to the wings. Cornell still won 11 of 19, but Currier had two caused turnovers on lost faceoffs to even that out. He also had an assist to Ryan Ambler on one of his face-off wins.
Princeton led 5-3 at the half, but the Tigers put together a great third quarter, outscoring the Big Red 3-0 to build the lead to five at 8-3. Princeton outshot Cornell 11-4 in the quarter while shutting Cornell out.
And so there was Princeton, at the start of the fourth quarter, with a five-goal lead in a game it desperately needed to get into the NCAA tournament. And there was the clock, ticking slow, slower, slowest.
The third quarter ended with a two-minute, non-releasable penalty against Princeton. The Tigers not only kept Cornell off the board but also had possession when the quarter ended, giving them the ball to start the fourth.
Possession to start the fourth would be the only easy thing about the quarter.
Cornell threw 16 shots up in fourth quarter, and Princeton had three failed clears.
Enter Blaisdell, the freshman goalie, who made seven spectacular saves in the fourth quarter, matching his total for the first three to finish with 14.
Cornell did get to withing two at 9-7, but Princeton got one more stop by a defense that swarmed all day and a successful clear. MacDonald and Currier then tacked on insurance goals, advancing Princeton to the final.