Brown's Rob Schlesinger used the hidden ball trick to score with 48 seconds to go in the second quarter and Will Pound stuffed Alex Capretta as the half ended, and suddenly Brown went into intermission with all of the momentum.
Not that it carried over into the second half.
Princeton played a third quarter that could only be described as "perfect," and the result was a fourth quarter that lacked any kind of suspense.
Princeton used that perfect third quarter to sprint away from Brown and take a 13-2 win in front of 594 chilled fans on a raw afternoon in Rhode Island.
The win, Princeton's fourth straight, left the Tigers at 6-2 overall and 3-0 in the Ivy League. The Tigers and Cornell are both 3-0 in the league, while Harvard is also unbeaten in the Ivy at 2-0.
Brown fell to 3-5, 0-2 in the league.
Princeton and Brown were one year removed from a four-overtime game at Class of 1952 Stadium, won by the Tigers on Tucker Shanley's goal.
When Shanley scored the final goal of the 2012 Princeton-Brown game, it lacked any of the drama as the one a year earlier. And yet it could have been different.
Of the previous six Princeton-Brown games, four had been decided by one goal. When Schlesinger and Pound made their plays in the final seconds of the first half, it seemed like this one would be another one.
So what happened?
Up 4-2 at the half after falling for the hidden ball trick, Princeton outscored Brown 7-0 in the third, scoring those seven goals on just nine shots. Of the seven goals, five were assisted, and it was really hard to say which was the nicest.
It might have been the one that started with a Chad Wiedmaier forced turnover and ended with a goal from Jeff Froccaro, off an assist from John Cunningham after the fast break. Or maybe it was the one where Tom Schreiber scored of the behind-the-back feed from Mike MacDonald, who kept the ball from crossing the restraining line with a flag down, which would have killed the play. Or maybe it was Cunningham's bounce shot after Will Himler threaded him one on the crease.
For the long-term, maybe it was the one where Hunter DeButts dodged full-speed from behind, showing no effects of the injury that cost him the first seven games of the year. DeButts scored two in the game, including the first of the day back in the firtst quarter.
Still, for all that, it's possible the defense played a better quarter. Wiedmaier was a beast all day, with four caused turnovers as he shut out Brown's leading scorer, Parker Brown, who came in with 19 points. Cunningham turned defense into offens with a goal and two assists in transition.
Tyler Fiorito finished with 16 saves and just the two goals-against - both by Schlesinger - before Eric Sanschagrin played the final 5:05.
MacDonald, Capretta and DeButts had two goals each, while Schreiber had a goal and three assists.
With this one behind them, the Tigers take a week off from the league race and head to Syracuse next Saturday. The Tigers and Orange have played four times in the NCAA championship game, and every meeting in the series is special. This one will be the first in the Carrier Dome for any current member of the Princeton team, after the schools played twice in the Meadowlands and then last year on Powers Field at Princeton Stadium.
Princeton also appeared to put itself in great shape for the Ivy League tournament, which the team won two years ago and then missed last year during its injury plagued 2011. Only four times in the last 30 years has a team with three league wins not finished in the top four in the standings.