June 13, 2009

Nationals Sweep Bayhawks with 19-12 Win

from press release

TORONTO --  The Toronto Nationals swept the Washington Bayhawks out of BMO Field with a convincing 19-12 win Saturday afternoon. Defender Brodie Merrill scored two goals, and scooped 10 ground balls to be named game MVP.

Merrick Thomson scored the first goal of the game a minute into the contest for Toronto, tying him with Chicago's Kevin Leveille for th e league lead but Bayhawks attacker Andrew Combs replied a minute and a half later.

Nationals attacker Colin Doyle made it 2-1 on a feed from midfielder Gavin Prout about five minutes in to the first before Combs struck again for Washington, tying the game.

Toronto's strong transition game earned them another goal, when long pole Phil Sanderson joined the rush and made a neat pass to Delby Powless who scored the Nationals' third goal of the game.  Jeff Zywicki cut across the crease to give Toronto a 4-2 lead with just 20 seconds left in the quarter.

Joe Cinosky broke in to Washington's end and passed to Thomson who put the ball through Bayhawks goaltender Chris Collins' legs for his second goal of the game, his 15th of the season.

Ford kept Washington alive in the fifth minute of the second quarter, shrinking Toronto's lead to 5-3 before Geoff Snider responded with an unassisted goal less than thirty seconds later in favour of the Nationals.  Zywicki added a power play goal half-way through the quarter, giving Toronto a four goal lead.

Bayhawks midfielder Kyle Dixon halved that lead with a two-point goal, making it 7-5 just over nine minutes into the second frame.  Snider took a penalty for an illegal body-check, but even being short handed couldn't stop the Nationals offence and defender Sid Smith kept the ball rolling, making it 8-5 with 20 seconds left in Snider's penalty.

On top of Smith's marker, midfielder Joe Walters scored a two-point goal to give Toronto a 10-5 cushion at the end of the first half.

Washington's Kevin Buchanan scored just 21 seconds into the third quarter but the Nationals responded almost immediately, with Walters scoring his second two-point goal of the game.  Combs scored his third goal for Washington, by scooping up a rebound and placing it in the net as he ran along the crease to make it 12-7.

Cinosky made an incredible play with four minutes left in the third quarter when Nationals' goalie Brett Queener left his crease to check the Washington ball carrier, but missed his mark.  Cinosky collapsed back to the net, and made a stick save to stop the Bayhawks shot.

Washington attacker Jed Prossner scored to put the game at 12-8 but Brodie Merrill quickly replied for the Nationals just 30 seconds later, sparking a six goal run for Toronto.

Merrill scored again 20 seconds into the fourth quarter, followed by midfielder Jordan Levine a minute in to the frame and another from Powless, his second goal of the game.

Five minutes into the fourth quarter Thomson scored his third of the game and Shawn Williams scored the last goal of the rally, when he stole the ball out of a Washington defenders stick and scored from directly in front of the goal.

The run gave Toronto an 18-8 lead and whipped the 3,544 hometown fans into a frenzy.

At last, the Bayhawks' Kevin Huntley answered Toronto's barrage by scoring 11 minutes into the fourth. The goal was Washington's first of the final frame.

Walters scored an unassisted marker a minute later, his sixth point, surpassing his output from last week's match-up at Washington, and putting the score at 19-9.

Washington's Ford added two goals as did midfielder Dan Groot to pull closer to the Nationals. However, it was too little too late as Toronto's lead held for the 19-12 win.

Joe Walters scored three goals and an assist as Toronto beat the Bayhawks for the third time this season.  Merrick Thomson added three goals for the Nationals and defender Brodie Merrill scored two.

Rookie long pole Sid Smith added a short-handed marker and Delby Powless and Jeff Zywicki recorded a pair each.  Geoff Snider, Colin Doyle, Jordan Levine and Shawn Williams had one goal in the afternoon victory.

The Nationals' starting goaltender was rookie Doc Schneider, drafted on May 27th in the MLL Collegiate Draft.  The University of Massachusetts grad looked sharp throughout the game, stopping 11 of 15 shots and earning his first career MLL win.

Attacker Spencer Ford led the Bayhawks with three goals and two assists.

The Toronto Nationals take to the road to face the Denver Outlaws next Saturday, June 20 before returning to BMO Field to play the Outlaws at home on Saturday June 27th at 7:00 p.m.

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