They can clinch top seed with home win over Western Tuesday
GORHAM, Maine -- The Eastern Connecticut State University men's lacrosse team displayed its offensive firepower in the second and third quarters - and its ability to kill penalties throughout -- outscoring the University of Southern Maine by 11 goals in those frames en route to its fifth straight Little East Conference victory, 18-7, Saturday afternoon at Hannaford Field.
Above:Kevin Fechtmann (23) (Tim Seidl photo)
The penalty-plagued win was the third straight and fifth in the last six games for Eastern (8-5, 5-0 Little East). Southern Maine (4-9, 1-4 Little East) was coming off its first Little East victory of the season, but fell to Eastern for the 11th straight time in this series.
With two regular-season conference matches remaining (Tuesday at home against Western Connecticut at 7 p.m. and Saturday at Massachusett Boston), Eastern remained a game up in the standings on Keene State and Western. On Saturday, Keene got past host UMass Dartmouth, 13-8, and Western nipped Plymouth State in overtime, 10-9.
Having already defeated two-time defending regular-season LEC champion Keene, Eastern moved to within two victories of posting its eighth undefeated LEC regular season in 12 years of conference competition. A win over Western guarantees the Warriors the top seed in the upcoming LEC playoffs and no worse than a share of the regular-season title with Keene.
Eastern's man-down unit spent plenty of time on the field as the Warriors commited a team-high 11 penalties for a team-high 9 ½ minutes. Southern Maine's 12 penalties for 11 ½ minutes were also the most against the Warriors this season. Eastern successfully killed off eight of USM's ten extra-man efforts, and senior attack Jeremy Cogliano (Bedford, MA) chipped in a man-down goal to open the second half.
Junior attack Christian Leone (West Norwalk) and senior midfielder Salieu Bolivar (Norwalk) paced the Warriors' balanced scoring with three goals apiece. Senior attacks Michael Sullinger (Brookfield) and Cogliano, junior midfielder Kevin Fechtmann (Levittown, NY) and sophomore Mike Devine (Cheshire) each had two goals.
Junior midfielder Josh Dubinsky (Woodstock) controlled the "X" by winning 15 of 19 faceoffs and scooping up a game-high 13 groundballs. He improved his season faceoff percentage to .629 and his ground ball average to 11.9. In five LEC wins, Dubinsky shows a .717 faceoff winning percentage and a ground ball average nearly 13.0.
The Warriors used four goalies in the game. Senior Jamie Tommins (Fairfield) started and played the first half making five saves. Junior Drew Deane (Vernon) played the third quarter and stopped all three shots to come his way. Rookies John Capodicasa (West Hartford) and Richard Squires (Norwalk) split the fourth quarter, combining for five saves. The collegiate appearance was the first in the career of Squires, who turned back the only shot that he saw over his five minute stint.
Freshman Kaleb Smith led the Huskies scoring two goals and dishing out an assist for three points. Five other players had one goal. Junior Kyle Dussault started in the Huskies cage playing three quarters and making eight saves. Junior Ryan Hatch had three saves in the final quarter.
The Huskies tied the score midway through the first quarter on a score by junior Ryan Foley, but that would be the last tie as the Warriors outscored the Huskies 9-3 over the remainder of the first half.
Sullinger gave the Warriors the lead for good with his first goal with 6:46 left in the first quarter. The goal sparked a run of three consecutive Warrior goals that made it 4-1 before junior Mike Orlando scored for the Huskies.
Bolivar and Leone scored for the Warriors in the opening two minutes of the second period as part of a four-goal run that pushed the visitors' lead to 8-2.
The Warriors put the issue to bed in the third quarter scoring seven unanswered goals. Cogliano had a man-down goal early to ignite the run of Warrior goals. Devine and Fechtmann each scored twice, and Leone and Bolivar recorded one goal.