|University of Southern Maine||Western Connecticut State U.|
DANBURY, Conn. — Junior goalie Zach Bessette (Readfield, Maine/Maranacook) equaled his career high stopping 19 shots as the visiting University of Southern Maine men’s lacrosse team held on for a 12-11 victory over Western Connecticut State University in Little East Conference action Saturday afternoon at The Western Athletic Complex. The game was the LEC opener for the Huskies.
With the win, Southern Maine gets back to .500 overall at 4-4, and is 1-0 in conference play. The Colonials dropped their third straight game to slide to 3-6 overall and 0-2 in LEC play.
Outshot 48-31, the Huskies relied upon Bessette to hold off the Colonials. The junior goalie equaled his career high for saves in a game set in the Huskies’ season-opening loss at MIT.
Junior Nate DelGiudice (Oakland, Maine/Messalonskee) and rookie Tristan Dundas (Abbotsford, B.C.) paced the Southern Maine attack as each had three goals and one assist. Six other players contributed one goal.
Rookie Johnnie Ward (Mahopac, N.Y.) scored three goals for the Colonials, and classmate Eric Caldwell (East Moriches, N.Y./Westhampton Beach) contributed two goals and two assists. Senior John Thomas (Waterford, Conn.) also had two goals. Senior goalie Patrick Tynan (Somers, Conn.) stopped five shots between the pipes.
Thomas and DelGiudice traded unassisted goals in the opening eight minutes before Ward and freshman Ryan Reuling (Groton, Conn./Fitch) scored 30 seconds apart to give the home side a 3-1 lead after the first quarter.
Dundas ignited a run of five consecutive goals by the Huskies in the second quarter, four coming in the first five minutes, scoring the first two. Seniors Jeff Urmston (Bellingham, Mass.) and Keegan Smith (West Gardiner, Maine/Gardiner Area) tallied the next two goals to make it 5-3, and DelGiudice notched his second goal of the game at 6:12. Thomas and Caldwell scored for Western, sandwiching a USM marker from junior Sam Hornblower (Portland, Maine/Deering) to make the score 7-5 at halftime.
Southern Maine outscored Western in the third quarter 3-2 as three different players found the net to increase its lead to 10-7.
Rookie Bryce Randall (Portland, Maine) opened the fourth quarter with a goal for the Huskies at 13:25. Ward countered with a man-up goal less than two minutes later. Dundas scored his third goal of the game with 4:23 remaining to give USM a 12-8 lead.
Western sophomore Ryan Yursha (Middletown, Del./St. Andrew’s School) won the ensuing faceoff and scored six seconds later to spark the home side. Caldwell’s second goal of the game with 1:39 remaining closed the gap to 12-10, and freshman Kieran Lyons (Leominster, Mass./St. John’s) scored with 11 seconds left to get the Colonials within one.
A faceoff violation gave the ball back to Western with one last chance to get an equalizer, but Hornblower forced a turnover to preserve the win for USM.
In addition to their big edge in shots, the Colonials won the battle of the ground balls, 32-17, and took 22 of 27 faceoffs. Both sides were proficient in clearing the ball from the defensive zone as USM was successful on 27 of 30 attempts and the Colonials were 22 for 22.