Nationals Head to Florida to Face Rattlers
The Hamilton Nationals will host the Rochester Rattlers at FAU Stadium in Boca Raton, Fla. on Saturday, June 22nd at 7:00 p.m. The game is the first of two games in two weeks against Rochester. The contest will be available on YouTube.com/MLL.
Scouting the Nationals: The Nationals suffered their second straight loss, dropping a 12-10 decision on June 13th to the New York Lizards. The Nationals fell to 5-2 with the road loss. The Nationals were led by Kevin Crowley, who tied his career-high with five goals as part of a six-point night. Stephen Keogh (2+1) and Kevin Cunningham (1+2) added three-point performances. Rookie goalie Dillon Ward made 11 saves in his professional debut. Fellow Orangeville native Jason Noble made his pro debut, and was one of seven rookies in the lineup for Hamilton. Rookie midfielder Mike Poppleton netted his first career goal in the game at New York. Brodie Merrill, who missed the game in New York, needs just three games to reach 100 in his pro career.
Still Streaking: Kevin Crowley is riding a career and franchise-best 22-game point streak, while Joe Walters is in the midst of a 19-game point streak.
Nationals among MLL leaders: Crowley (23+1+8) leads the MLL in goals and points. Walters is tied for 12th place with 19 points (9+10) in five games. Goalie Brett Queener is second in the league with a .594 save percentage and is fourth in goals-against average (11.33) and saves (63). Brodie Merrill is fifth in the league with 41 ground balls.
Road Warriors: Hamilton is playing its fifth straight game away from Ron Joyce Stadium. The Nationals have gone 2-2 on their current road trip. Saturday's contest is a home game, but is being played at a neutral site.
Walters honored by hometown: Joe Walters received one of the most prestigious awards bestowed on an athlete from Rochester. On Tuesday night, the Rochester Knighthawks star was named the Elliot Cushing Award winner for promoting his sport on a national level. Over the past two years, Walters has registered the best seasons of his professional lacrosse career en route to back-to-back NLL Championships. In the playoff runs, Walters has been one of the team's top contributors, notching 25 points in six games. In 2013, after setting career highs in goals, assists and points, Walters chipped in three goals and nine assists in the playoffs. His most important goal was in the fourth quarter of the NLL Finals, and proved to be the game winner. Once again, the hometown star was able to bring the Cup back home to Rochester.
Scouting Rochester: At the midway point of the season, the Rattlers (3-4) are locked in a battle for the fourth and final playoff spot. The Rattlers had their two-game winning streak snapped last Saturday, following a 13-11 loss to the Ohio Machine. Rookie midfielder John Ranagan scored his second career hat trick, and goalie John Galloway made 25 saves in the Rattlers' loss. Ned Crotty leads Rochester with 19 points (9+10), while Matt Striebel is a close second with 17 (11+4+2). His four two-point goals are tied for first in the league. Galloway is second in the MLL with 92 saves after making 48 in the last two games.
Next Game: The Nationals will host the Chesapeake Bayhawks on Saturday, June 29th at 7:00 p.m. at Ron Joyce Stadium at McMaster University. For tickets go to www.nationalslacrosse.com or call the Nationals Ticket Office at (905) 525-NATS.
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