Nationals Bounce Boston in Opener
Kevin Crowley had a career-high seven points to lead the Hamilton Nationals to a 15-8 victory tonight over the Boston Cannons at Harvard Stadium.
The Nationals earned the second opening-night victory in their franchise history. The Nats won their only other opener on May 15, 2009, which was the first game in team history. The coach that game was Dave Huntley, who was back on the sidelines for the Nationals this evening.
"It was a good team win for us and we had some nice individual performances," said Huntley.
Hamilton got seven points (4+3) from Crowley and hat tricks from Kevin Ross and Martin Cahill. Kevin Cunningham also chipped in one goal and one assist in his MLL debut.
"(Brett) Queener played great in goal, (Kevin) Cunningham stepped up at attack in his first MLL game, and (MJ) Kiekebelt at end was dangling and capped off his game," said Crowley. "It was a lot of guys stepping up and putting me in a position to be successful."
Queener made 18 saves to help keep 2012 MLL scoring champion Paul Rabil and the Cannons to just three goals in the first half. After giving up the first goal, Hamilton netted eight straight to take an 8-1 advantage in the second quarter. The teams traded a pair of goals to end the first half with Hamilton up 10-3.
Crowley notched a hat trick in the second quarter to break open the contest.
Ross completed his first career MLL hat trick to make it 14-8 at the end of the third quarter. He was appearing in his first MLL game since July 24, 2010, when he played for the Toronto Nationals. Kiekebelt finished off the scoring with the only goal of the fourth quarter. The goal was the first of his career.
"It was fantastic. I was happy to see it, especially after a tough season last year," said Queener.
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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