Waterbury continues hot streak as Panthers roll to win
PLYMOUTH, N.H. – Junior Chris Waterbury (Clinton, Conn.) scored four times to continue a hot scoring streak as Plymouth State University topped the University of Massachusetts Boston, 17-11, in the first round of the Little East Conference (LEC) Tournament Tuesday afternoon at Currier Field.
Waterbury, who has nine tallies in his last two games, scored back-to-back goals in the second quarter as PSU topped UMass Boston for the second time in four days. With the win the Panthers improve to 8-9 on the year and advance to Thursday's semifinal round at top-seeded Keene State College. The loss marks the end of the season for the Beacons, who finish the year 8-9.
The team's traded goals through the first 20 minutes. Freshman Conor Lenfest (Waltham, Mass.) put the visitors ahead with the first of his three goals five minutes in, but junior Ryan Croatti (Brunswick, Maine) answered 35 seconds later for the Panthers. Sophomore Ned Parker (Stafford, Va.) found the back of the cage as UMB pulled ahead, but senior Cam Cormier (Auburn, Maine) countered for Plymouth. Plymouth State went ahead, 3-2, on a goal from junior Jake Burns (Salem, N.H.), but Parker scored off a restart on the end line with just one second remaining to tie the score at three as the first quarter expired.
A goal from junior Paul Luongo (Northborough, Mass.) in the opening minute of the second put PSU back up by one, 4-3, but Lenfest tied the game at four with 10:37 left in the half. From there the Panthers used a 5-1 run to seize control of the game. Waterbury put the Panthers ahead for good when he scooped a loose ball in front of the Beacons' cage past the goalie, and two minutes later freshman Connor Delea (Manchester, N.H.) knocked the ball free from a UMB defender in the neutral zone and Waterbury raced in for a one-on-one, beating the goalie to give Plymouth a 6-4 lead.
Sophomore Griffin Jacobson (Windham, Maine) made it a three-goal lead 26 seconds later. Lenfest completed the hat trick to pull the Beacons to 7-5, but Jacobson notched his 25th of the season, before Waterbury added his third of the quarter in the final 15 seconds of the half as PSU went into the break with a 9-5 lead.
PSU outscored the UMass Boston by a 3-2 margin in the third, with senior Kyle Stockman (Ballston Lake, N.Y.) picking up a ground ball after a face-off win and racing down the field for his first tally of the season. The Panthers pulled away in the fourth quarter, scoring three goals in a seven minute span to take a 17-9 lead before the Beacons added a pair of goals in the last two minutes to account for the final score.
Waterbury has enjoyed facing UMass Boston, recording 10 of his 31 points in the last two games. Jacobson and Delea both finished with two goals and an assist, while Croatti added a pair of scores. Junior Zel Kerkel (Loudon, N.H.) made 13 saves and improved to 8-9 with the win. He and Stockman each picked up five ground balls. Sophomore Charlie Harrington (Walpole, Mass.) led the Panthers' defense with a game-high five caused turnovers.
Lenfest led the Beacons with a three-goal, two-assist effort, while Parker added a hat trick. Senior Clay Arnold (Syracuse, N.Y.) added a pair of goals. Freshman Alex Fawcett (Londonderry, N.H.) made six stops in the first half, while sophomore Alex Surette (Melrose, Mass.) made five saves in the second half. Fawcett took the loss to fall to 5-6.
PSU will look to upset top-ranked Keene State on Thursday. The Owls finished LEC play with a perfect 7-0 record. Game time has yet to be announced.
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