Southern Maine Comeback Falls Short at UMass Boston
BOSTON -- The University of Southern Maine men's lacrosse team's comeback bid fell short Friday evening as the University of Massachusetts Boston Beacons used a run of six consecutive goals to pull away for a 14-9 victory in Little East Conference action at James Cotter Field.
The win was the fourth straight for the surging Beacons and clinched the second seed in the upcoming LEC playoffs. The Beacons finished the regular season 8-7 overall and 5-2 in the LEC. The Huskies, who went into the game with a chance to earn home seed in the first round of the playoffs, dropped their third straight game to finish the regular season 6-9 overall and 3-4 in conference play. USM will be the fifth seed in the upcoming playoffs.
Down 7-2 late in the second quarter, the Huskies got a spark with goals from senior Sam Fortin (Brunswick, Maine) and sophomore Paul Leonardo (Groton, Mass./Groton-Dunstable) in the final 1:16 of the quarter to go into the break down 7-4. Fortin's goal was his first of the season.
USM senior Jeff Urmston (Bellingham, Mass.) and UMB junior Conor Smith (Kingston, Mass.) traded goals in opening six minutes of the third quarter to make it 8-5. The Huskies scored the next three goals to tie the game at 8-8. Rookie Bryce Randall (Portland, Maine/Deering), Urmston and freshman Tristan Dundas (Abbotsford, B.C.) tallied goals in a span of 3:33 to get the Huskies even.
Rookie Josh Holmes (Weymouth, Mass.) regained the lead for the Beacons before the end of the third quarter converting an assist from senior Calvin Lee (Hopkinton, Mass.) into his third goal of the game.
The fourth quarter belonged to Beacons as the home side scored five straight goals to open up a 14-8 lead. Randall's second goal coming with 2:13 remaining in the game was the Huskies lone response.
Randall, Urmston, Leonard and Dundas scored two goals apiece for the Huskies. Senior Keegan Smith (West Gardiner, Maine/Gardiner Area) dished out three assists. Junior goalie Zach Bessette (Readfield, Maine/Maranacook) stopped 15 shots.
Smith led the Beacons' attack scoring four goals, including three in the decisive fourth quarter. Holmes had three goals, and senior Anthony Tortora (Medford, Mass.) and junior Clay Arnold (Syracuse, N.Y.) scored two goals apiece. Freshman goalie Alex Surette (Melrose, Mass.) made 10 saves.
UMass Boston had an advantage in shots (48-38), ground balls (35-26) and faceoffs won (16-11). UMB sophomore Matt Murphy (Watertown, Mass.) won 16 of 27 faceoffs at the X and had a game-high 14 ground balls.
Southern Maine, the fifth seed in the playoff, will travel to fourth-seeded Eastern Connecticut State University for a first-round game in Tuesday (time tba). UMass Boston receives a first-round bye and hosts a semifinal round game on Thursday.