No. 9 Carolina Scores Two in Final Minute to Nip No. 5 Princeton

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. - Sophomore Chad Tutton scored on a over-handed bounce shot with three seconds to play to lift #11 North Carolina to a wild 16-15 victory over #5 Princeton Saturday afternoon at Fetzer Field. The game was played before a sun-drenched crowd of 4,362 raucous fans.

They witnessed the Tar Heels score twice in the last 37 seconds to play to pull out a much needed victory heading into next Wednesday's rivalry game against Duke at Fetzer Field at 7:30 p.m. It was the largest crowd at Fetzer Field since April 7, 2012 when 5,138 saw Virginia beat the Tar Heels.

The two teams combined for 31 goals on 99 shots with the Tigers outshooting the Tar Heels 56-43. One of the differences in the game proved to be shooting accuracy. Carolina put 28 of its 43 shots on goal while Princeton was on cage only 25 times in 56 attempts.

Carolina won a game while giving up 15 or more goals for the first time since May 2, 1981 when the Tar Heels beat NC State 19-17 at Fetzer Field en route to their first national championship.

The wildness of the fourth quarter was indicative of the crazy ebb and flow of momentum that existed throughout the contest. Carolina was up 11-10 heading into the final quarter before Jeff Froccaro beat Kieran Burke low to even the game at 11-11 with 11:46 to play. The Tar Heels reclaimed the lead on a Jimmy Bitter goal assisted by Marcus Holman with 10:11 left but just 22 seconds later it was tied again at 12-12 after a goal from 12 yards out by Mike MacDonald.

Within the next three minutes, Carolina went back up by a pair. An extra-man goal by Tutton, assisted by Bitter, gave the Heels a 13-12 lead at 8:04 before Joey Sankey took a pass from Holman and beat O'Connor on a five-hole shot exactly one minute later. The Tar Heels got the ball back but O'Connor stonewalled Holman at the 5:34 mark and MacDonald scored his fifth goal of the game on the fast break just 18 seconds later.

The Tar Heels would not possess the ball again for 4:05 and in that span Princeton got enough looks at the goal to produce a lead. After Jake Froccaro won the ensuing face-off, Princeton got off six shots at Burke over a span of one minutes and forty seconds. The Tigers won a ground ball battle near midfield with 2:37 to play and Tom Schreiber stepped up a rocketed one past Burke to tie the game at 14-14 with 2:30 to play. Jeff Froccaro won the next face-off and Schreiber's outside shot beat Burke with 1:41 to play with the assist to Kip Orban.

Then it really got crazy. Jeff Froccaro won the next face-off and Princeton looked to kill time. But UNC face-off man R.G. Keenan pursued Chris White of the Tigers into the right corner behind the goal and stripped him and scooped up the ground ball with 1:11 left. UNC's clear was good and the Tar Heels called timeout with 53 seconds to play to set up a play. With 39 seconds left, Matt O'Connor denied Jimmy Bitter's shot from the right side, but in a wild scrum in front of the goal, Davey Emala scooped up the ground ball and scored on the rebound into the empty net to tie the game at 15 with 37 seconds left.

Keenan then won his 20th face-off of the game and after two quick shots by Marcus Holman the Tar Heels kept possession with 11 seconds to play. After a Princeton timeout, Holman carried it from the left side and fed Bitter at the top of the box. Bitter quickly moved the ball to the right wing where Tutton finished the comeback with his bounce shot past O'Connor, sending the partisan crowd into a frenzy.

The game marked the fourth successive one-goal decision for the Tar Heels, who have split those four games, all against nationally ranked teams. UNC improved to 3-2 on the season with the win. The Tigers fell for the first time this season to go to 3-1. They had run off successive wins over Hofstra, Johns Hopkins and Villanova to start the season.

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2013-03-09



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