Sam Hornblower: 2017 LEC Defensive Player of the Year

Southern Maine Falls to Keene State

Senior Nate DelGiudice became the USM's all-time scorer against Keene State (file photo by Jason Johns).
Senior Nate DelGiudice became the USM's all-time scorer against Keene State (file photo by Jason Johns).
DelGiudice Becomes USM's All-time Leading Scorer

            KEENE, N.H. -- Little East Conference regular season champion Keene State College got goals from 13 different players, including five goals apiece from senior Hunter Arnold (Boxboro, Mass./Acton-Boxboro) and rookie Jordan Caito (Londonderry, N.H./Bishop Guertin), to roll past the University of Southern Maine 25-11 in the regular season finale for both teams Friday evening at the Owl Athletic Complex.

            The Owls won their seventh straight game to finish the regular season at 10-4 overall and undefeated (7-0) in conference play.  The Huskies finish the regular season at 7-8 and 4-3 in the conference.

            The lone highlight for Southern Maine came in the fourth quarter when senior Nate DelGiudice (Oakland, Maine/Messalonskee) scored his 21st goal of the season to become the program's all-time leading scorer passing Mark White (2010-13, 147 points) for the top spot on the scoring list.  DelGiudice had four points in the game increasing his career total to 149 points (95g, 54a).

            Arnold scored his five goals in the first half when the Owls built a 15-2 lead.  Caito had all of his goals in the second half.  Sophomore David Wiedenfeld (Londonderry, N.H.) had five points on three goals and two assists.  Senior goalie Mathew Howe (Bedford, N.H.), the first of four goalies employed by the Owls in the game, earned his 10th win of the season making seven saves in 27:41 of action.

            For USM, junior Paul Leonardo (Groton, Mass./Groton-Dunstable) had three goals and sophomore Tristan Dundas (Abbotsford, B.C.) scored  twice.  Senior Seth Wing (West Gardiner, Maine/Gardiner Area) and sophomore Bryce Randall (Portland, Maine/Deering) had a goal and an assist.  Senior goalie Zach Bessette (Readfield, Maine/Maranacook) stopped 15 shots over the first three quarters.  Rookie Griffin Hanson (Dover, N.H.) came on the play the fourth quarter making three saves.

            Keene State dominated the statistics sheet outshooting Southern Maine 58-30 and winning the battle for ground balls 57-34.  The Owls also had a big advantage at the center "X" winning 27 of 38 faceoffs.

            Led by Arnold and Wiedenfeld, the Owls raced to a 12-0 lead in the opening 21 minutes of the game before Leonardo put the Huskies on the board at 8:03 of the second quarter.  Arnold had four goals and Wiedenfeld scored three times to account  for seven of the Owls' 12 goals.

            Despite the loss, Southern Maine will be the third seed in the upcoming Little East Conference tournament that begins Tuesday.  USM will host the sixth-seed, the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, in its first playoff home game since 2009 at a time to be announced.  Keene State receives a first-round bye and will host a semifinal round game on Thursday.