This was two completely even teams, separated in the end by a few blades of fake grass.
The difference on the field was razor thin. The difference after? Enormous.
Two teams used to playing close games against each other did it again, as Syracuse defeated Princeton 13-12 Saturday evening in front of 4,610 fans at Powers Field at Princeton Stadium.
How even were these teams coming in? They were tied for eighth in one poll. They had identical records, with identical scores in their losses, and nearly identical goals scored and goals allowed.
In the end, it was a three-goal rally for the Orange, who came back from a 12-10 fouth quarter deficit for the win. The game-winner came from JoJo Marasco with 2:32 to go.
Princeton is now 6-3 overall, with a 2-1 Ivy League record, heading to road games at Rutgers Tuesday and Dartmouth Saturday. Syracuse is now 7-2 overall.
WHAT THE BOX SCORE DOESN'T TELL YOU - Princeton took possession with 15 seconds to go, down one, after Syracuse turned it over on a stall warning. Jake Froccaro got the ball to Ryan Ambloer, whose shot on the Powers Field turf just missed the far pipe and rolled through the crease as time expired. Ambler's shot, from a tough angle, did not miss by much.
WHAT ELSE THE BOX SCORE DOESN'T TELL YOU - Of the 25 games Princeton and Syracuse since the 1992 NCAA championship game, 14 of them have been decided by one goal (eight of them) or two goals (six of them), including each of the last three. SU defeated Princeton by two two years ago and now by one each of the last two years.
PLAYER OF THE GAME - Jeff Frocaro scored four goals for Princeton, including two in the fourth quarter. He also won 3 of 4 face-offs.
STAT OF THE GAME -Syracuse won 18 of 29 face-offs after winning fewer than 50% of its face-offs for the year prior to the game.
STAT OF THE YEAR - Princeton is 6-3, and all three losses have been by one goal.
BONUS STAT - Syracuse scored the first three goals and last three goals of the game. Princeton outscored Syracuse 12-7 in between.
NOTES - Tom Schreiber had a goal and three assists and still has at least three points in every game this year ... Princeton has reached double figures in every game this year; it's the second-longest such streak in school history to start a season ... Mike MacDonald had three goals for Princeton ... Jake Froccaro had two.