On Saturday at SHI Stadium, Rutgers and Princeton played for the 100th time in the history of the rivalry. The Scarlet Knights (6-1) won in dramatic fashion over the Tigers (2-3). Dante Kulas scored the game winning goal just over a minute into overtime. The 14-13 victory resulted in the return of the Tots Meistrell Cup to its rightful owners. RU won four straight games to conclude the extended homestand.
On the final play. Joe Neuman won the faceoff before Shane Knobloch found Kulas, who scored a game high four goals on Saturday.
— Rutgers On BTN (@RutgersOnBTN) March 11, 2023
“I just saw a lot of maturity and focus [on the final play],” Rutgers head coach Brian Brecht said. “We had a timeout, and we were able to get organized. They were able to play out of it and take advantage of opportunities. We had something scripted in the beginning, but in the end, it came down to just playing lacrosse, playing off each other and trusting each other.”
“We had a set play drawn up and we scrambled off that,” Dante Kulas said. “I found myself off the side, left-handed and pretty wide open, so I caught it lefty, took one cradle, saw the back of the net and just shot. I kind of knew where I was going to put it and I am glad it went in.”
Princeton jumped out to a 4-1 lead in the first period before Rutgers dominated the second period with a 7-3 goals advantage. Kulas scored off an assist from Cameron to take a 9-8 lead into halftime.
There were three separate ties and two lead changes in the third period. At 12-12 to begin the fourth period, Cameron gave RU the lead before Princeton tied it with just over four minutes to play. Ultimately, the Scarlet Knights came through in the extra session.
Rutgers outshot Princeton 53-38 and held a 29-26 advantage with shots on goal. Faceoffs were an even 14-14 split. All-American Ethan Rall led the team with 10 ground balls while Bobby Russo had 4 along with 2 caused turnovers. RU held a 38-29 advantage in ground balls. Goalkeeper Kyle Mullin made 13 saves for the victory. The Scarlet Knights forced 15 turnovers while only committing 12.
Brian Cameron had another standout performance in the win. He scored three goals and assisted on two others. Knobloch also had five points with two goals and three assists, all of which came on the final three scores of the game. On the season, Cameron leads Rutgers with 29 points while Knobloch is the assists leader with nine helpers.
“This is a big win for our guys and I am very proud of the time they put in, their maturity level, and the focus they had this week,” said Brecht. “They rose to the occasion and executed when they needed to on offense and defense. That Tops Meistrell Cup means a lot to our alumni and our program here at Rutgers. When you have the 100th all-time meeting between the two schools and to win it at home in that 100th meeting, it is pretty special and something they will remember for the rest of their lives.”
No. 6/7 Rutgers (6-1) will now travel to take on UMass (4-2) on Saturday, March 18 at 1 p.m.
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