|Eastern Connecticut State University||University of Southern Maine|
MANSFIELD, Conn. — Junior Matthew Rougeot (Cheshire, Conn.) equaled the Eastern Connecticut State University single-game record with eight goals and the fourth-seeded Warriors broke fast and held off fifth-seeded University of Southern Maine, 17-14, in the opening round of the 2017 Little East Conference men’s lacrosse playoffs Tuesday night at the Mansfield Outdoor Complex.
Following its17th consecutive victory over Southern Maine (6-10), Eastern (8-9) faces top-seeded host Keene State College Thursday night (6:00 p.m.) in the semifinals. Southern Maine (6-10) ends the season on a four-game losing streak.
Rougeot, who shares the LEC lead with 47 goals this year – equaling the fourth-most in a season in Eastern history – potted two goals when the Warriors opened a 6-0 lead the first ten minutes of play. He later broke USM’s run of five in a row (which cut the lead to 6-5) with his third of the game, opened the second half with a pair od goals 15 seconds apart to make it 10-6 and recorded his final three over the last 17 minutes of action.
Rougeot helped Eastern to a slim 48-44 advantage in shots. Rougeot (17) and junior Harrison Urda (Milford, N.H.) combined for 27 shots, with Urda connecting for five goals, including the first two of the game and a key one in the final minute of the first half that carried the Warriors into an 8-6 lead at the break.
Junior Nate DelGiudice (Oakland, Maine/Messalonskee) led USM with five goals and an assist, and senior Keegan Smith (West Gardiner, ME) delivered four assists to set a USM single-season record with 31 assists. Smith leads the Little East Conference in assists.
Eastern junior Chris Gorman (Shrewsbury, Mass.) stopped 14 shots while USM junior Zach Bessette (Readfield, Maine/Maranacook) made 11 saves.
Eastern senior Jesse Schulze (Croton-on-Hudson, N.Y.) won 23 of his 30 faceoff attempts against three Southern Maine faceoff opponents.