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Nationals and Cannons Collide in Boston

May 2, 2013 - Major League Lacrosse (MLL) Hamilton Nationals

The Hamilton Nationals open the 2013 Major League Lacrosse season against the Boston Cannons on Saturday, May 4th at Harvard Stadium. The 7:00 p.m. contest will be carried live on ESPN3. Hamilton is 3-5 lifetime against Boston.

Scouting the Nationals: The Nationals enter the 2013 season with Dave Huntley back at the helm. Huntley had a 12-14 record in two seasons as head coach of the Nationals. In 2009, the Toronto native led the team to the Major League Lacrosse Championship in their inaugural season. The Nats were 7-5 during the 2009 regular season before defeating Long Island and Denver at the MLL's Championship Weekend.

Here come the reinforcements: Hamilton activated five players from its NLL in-active list this week, adding six-time MLL Defensive Player of the Year Brodie Merrill, Jordan Hall, Kevin Ross, Kevin Crowley and Garrett Billings. Last season, Crowley was second on the Nationals with 24 goals and 37 points. Hall returns to the Nationals after missing the 2012 season with an injury. In 2011, he notched single-season bests in goals (14), assists (9) and points (23). Hamilton has also added Kyle Rubisch and Jeremy Thompson of the Edmonton Rush, and Alex Demopoulos of Colorado to the roster, but they are not scheduled to play this weekend.

Coach's Comments:

"Brodie (Merrill) is the definition of 'Best Player in the World' at his position. He has been in the conversation for the past eight years. To get a guy of that caliber back is very important. He does everything for us."

Shooting for two on Opening Night: The Nationals are bidding for the second opening-night victory in their franchise history. The Nats won their only opener on May 15, 2009, which was the first game in team history.

Very Odd Stat: The Nationals have advanced to the MLL Finals the last two odd years (2009, 2011). During evens years, the Nats have failed to make the playoffs. Only time will tell if 2013 produces another trip to the MLL Championship Weekend.

Still indoors: The Hamilton Nationals still have eight players in the National Lacrosse League Playoffs, including Cody Jamieson, Joe Walters, Stephen Keogh, Matt Vinc and Sid Smith of the Rochester Knighthawks. Rhys Duch (Washington), Joe Resetarits (Calgary) and Evan Kirk (Minnesota) are also still playing in the NLL Playoffs.

Boston Notes: The Cannons opened the 2013 season Sunday afternoon with a 14-11 loss to the New York Lizards. Paul Rabil and Ari Sussman led the Cannons' offense with four and three goals, respectively. Last season, Rabil led the league with 72 points (27+7+38). Ryan Boyle also chipped in one goal and one assist to give him 397 career points, which is just three away from breaking the MLL all-time record of 399 held by Casey Powell. The game on Saturday kicks off a three-game homestand for the Cannons. Last season, Boston finished in third place in the MLL to advance to the MLL Championship Weekend. The Cannons' bid to repeat as champions was denied by the Chesapeake Bayhawks, who went on to win their second title in three seasons.

Home Opener: Hamilton makes its home debut on Friday, May 11th with a 7:00 p.m. contest against the New York Lizards at Ron Joyce Stadium at McMaster University. For ticket information, contact the Nationals Ticket Office at (905) 525-NATS.

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