NCAA First Round: Penn State Completes Comeback Versus Princeton

(Photo Courtesy of Penn State Athletics)

The Penn State Nittany Lions are moving to the NCAA Quarterfinals after taking down Princeton 13-12 on Sunday night.

Ethan Long led Penn State with five goals while TJ Malone tallied six points off two goals and four assists.

Jack Fracyon anchored the Penn State defense with 16 saves.

Princeton came out of the gates hot with Sean Cameron and Coulter Mackesy putting the Tigers in front 2-0 just five minutes into the contest. Mackesy would score twice more before the first frame ended and three more times before halftime, helping Princeton to a 7-1 lead by the 9:20 mark of the second frame.

However, after Princeton got up 7-1 early in the second quarter that script would flip.

Ethan Long got Penn State on the board back at the 7:04 mark of the first frame and would give the Nittany Lions their second goal of the day nearly a full 15 minutes later with 7:23 remaining in the second quarter. Mark Sickler and TJ Malone followed with consecutive scores minutes later. Long put home another one later in the frame and Jack Traynor followed with his first of the day to pull the Nittany Lions within 8-6.

Coulter Mackesy put home the final score of the first half to give himself five goals in the first half alone and make it a 9-6 game heading into the break. Mackesy’s half-ending goal, however, did not end the Nittany Lions’ hot streak.

Following a back-and-forth stretch through the opening seven minutes and change of the third quarter, a man-up opportunity yielded a Kevin Winkoff score to cut the Tigers lead to 9-7. Winkoff’s score helped spark a six-goal run that pulled Penn State ahead 12-9 at the 12:38 mark of the fourth qaurter.

Matt Traynor tied it with 5:16 left in the third quarter while Long’s fifth goal of the day gave Penn State its first lead at 10-9.

Chase Mullins was a massive piece of that run for the Nittany Lions as he went 3-for-5 during those final seven minutes of the third quarter and won the ensuing faceoff following Jeb Brenfleck’s score to make it a 12-9 contest.

Princeton was able to strike back with Mackesy, Jake Stevens, and Alexander Vardaro each finding the back of the cage within a minute a change. Vardaro’s score, which came after he fought through two defenders, tied things up (12-12) with just 6:08 remaining in the contest.

Andrew McMeekin won the ensuing faceoff and Mackesy got a shot off just seconds later. However, it missed the mark just as each of those final four shots from the Tigers did. Their final effort came from the stick of Vardaro and was stopped by Jack Fracyon for 16th save of the day.

Kevin Winkoff score the eventual game-winner for Penn State with 4:16 remaining in the contest.

Princeton was led by the six-goal day from Coulter Mackesy. Andrew McMeekin went 18-for-28 (64%) at the dot on the day.

Penn State moves to the NCAA Quarterfinals where they will face Army West Point.


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