MANSFIELD, Conn. – Western Connecticut State University tallied a combined seven goals from conference point leaders Eric Caldwell (East Moriches, NY), a freshman, and John Foristall (Danbury, CT) as the Colonials defeated cross-state rival Eastern Connecticut State University, 9-7 at the Mansfield Outdoor Complex on Wednesday afternoon.
The dynamic duo needed a combined total of only 12 total shots to reach seven markers.
Western, now 6-6 overall and 2-2 in LEC action, the Colonials scored the first three goals of the third quarter and outscored Eastern 4-1 over those 15 minutes and 7-3 overall in the second half and went on to its first victory over Eastern in this 18-game series.
Eastern Connecticut, 5-8 overal and 2-2 in conference play, watched a two-goal halftime lead evaporate in short order during an inspired third quarter.
Eastern entered the day in a two-way tie for third place in the conference, but finished the day in a three-way tie for fourth with Western and Massachusetts Boston. The top six teams in the eight-team conference qualify for the LEC playoffs, which get underway with first-round games May 2.
Western converted only one of eight extra-man opportunities in the game but the timing of their one make was perfect, coming off the stick of Caldwell in the opening minutes of the third quarter that pulled the Colonials to within 4-3.
The game was scoreless for the next eight minutes, but freshman Ryan Reuling's (Groton, CT) only goal tied the match at 4-4 with 04:4 left, and Caldwell's 40th goal of the season exactly a minute later off a pass from Foristall gave Western a lead (5-4) it would not surrender.
Eastern finally halted Western's run of three in a row with three minutes left in the third – the team's first goal in 16 minutes – but Western applied the dagger by ending the period with another, then getting a pair from Foristall in the first seven minutes of the final stanza to up the count to 8-5.
Eastern senior Jesse Schulze (Croton-on-Hudson, NY) continued his standout recent faceoff work, winning all seven in the first half before Ryan Yursha (Middletown, DE) helped the visitors regain the momentum in the second half but capturing seven of 12. The opposing face-off pair took all 19 in the game.
Western goalie Patrick Tynan (Somers, CT), who made 16 saves but gave up 11 goals in his team's loss a year ago to the Warriors, stopped 14 shots this time, 11 in the first half to keep his team in contention at the break. Tynan needed only three saves when the Colonials outshot the Warriors, 23-10 over the final 30 minutes. Eastern's Chris Gorman (Shrewsbury, MA) made 12 saves for Eastern, eight in the second half.
Harrison Urda (Milford, NH), Matthew Rougeot (Cheshire) and freshman Ed Moran (West Haven, CT) had two goals each for Eastern. Rougeot, second to Caldwell in the conference in goals, put only six of his game-high 14 shots on net, mostly due to Western's stellar defense.
Eastern freshman Anthony Choronzy (Clinton) picked up a game-high six ground balls, while freshman defenseman Matthew Kolasinki (Smithtown, NY) caused four turnovers and won three ground balls for Western.
"This was a great program win. 13 years and 17 contests later, we were finally able to beat Eastern. I am so proud of our team right now. They played with heart and discipline. This win shows the hard work of our seniors, coaching staff and players," said WestConn head coach Ryan Cavanagh following the spirited effort.
With three games remaining in the regular season, the Colonials travel to University of Massachusetts Dartmouth this Saturday, April 22 for a 1 pm meeting with the Corsairs. The Warriors play host to Salem State University in a Little East match Saturday at 3 pm..