So. Maine Downs Salem St. to Advance in LEC Tourney

GORHAM, Maine -- Senior Preston Gilbert (Saco, Maine/Cheverus) scored his second goal of the fourth quarter with 3:33 remaining to give the third-seeded University of Southern Maine a 9-8 victory over sixth-seeded Salem State College in a first round Little East Conference playoff game Tuesday afternoon at Hodgdon Field.

The win improves the Huskies record to 11-6 and advances them into a semifinal game on Thursday at second-seeded Keene State College. The playoff game was the Huskies first since 2004, and it was their first-ever home playoff contest. The Vikings dropped their second straight game and finish the season 6-10.

Gilbert's goal negated a valiant comeback effort by the Vikings. Down 7-3 after Gilbert netted his first goal early in the fourth quarter, the Vikings outscored the Huskies 5-1 over the next eight minutes to tie the game at 8-8. Junior Justin Jones (Danvers, Mass./Bishop Fenwick), sophomore Jonathan Falls (Seekonk, Mass./Bishop Henricken) and junior Mark Duran (Lynn, Mass./Classical) scored three goals in a span of 2:31 for the Viking to close the margin to 7-6.

After sophomore Tim Bryant (Peterborough, N.H./ConVal) restored a two-goal advantage for USM with a man-up tally with 9:24 to play, juniors Robert Mulroy (Swampscott, Mass./Pingree) and Nate Snow (Salem, Mass.) scored two minutes apart to tie the game with 5:36 remaining.

Gilbert snapped the deadlock when he received a pass from freshman Willie Joy (Portland, Maine/Deering) and whipped a shot into the left side of the cage past Salem State sophomore goalie Brendan Gill (Chelmsford, Mass.).

Gilbert led USM offensively with four points on two goals and two assists. Bryant finished with two goals and one assist. Freshman Dan Thomas (Shrewsbury, Mass.) had a game-high three goals. Senior goalie James Suriyodorn (Deer Park, N.Y.) posted 11 saves. Joy collected six ground balls and won 9 of 13 faceoffs. Junior Matt Morneau (Portland, Maine/Portland) had a team-high eight ground balls.

Mulroy led the Vikings with four points on two goals and two assists. Jones and Duran each had two goals. Falls finished with a goal and an assist. Gill registered eight saves. Junior Mike Carpenito (Leominster, Mass.) picked up eight ground balls.


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