July 1, 2011

Hamilton Tops Lizards for Third Straight Win

from press release

Brett Bucktooth sparked a four-goal run late that helped the Nationals pull away from the Long Island for their third straight victory.

© Greg Francis

HAMILTON, Ontario, Canada -- Led by rookie midfielder Kevin Crowley, the Hamilton Nationals (4-3) celebrated Canada Day by earning their third straight win, a 15-9 Major League Lacrosse victory over the Long Island Lizards (2-5) at Ron Joyce Stadium on Friday evening.

Crowley, who earned Bud Light Player of the Game honors, recorded the first hat trick of his MLL career by scoring a season-high four goals with two assists. He scored three of his four goals in the first half as the Nationals built a three-goal half-time advantage.

"This was a huge win tonight for us and a team win," Crowley said. "We are a younger team, so we have to be more aggressive. We had guys selling out in the midfield tonight, diving to make plays and working hard for the ground balls."

Led by two goals and an assist from Crowley, the Nationals sprinted out to a 4-0 lead in the game's first 12 minutes. Midfielder Joe Walters also scored a pair of goals with an assist during the spurt.

With seven seconds remaining in the first quarter, rookie attackman Jay Card ended the Nationals' run by scoring off a feed from fellow rookie Brian Karalunas to trim the deficit to 4-1.

The teams traded goals three times in the second quarter, giving Hamilton a 7-4 lead at the intermission.

Led by a goal and an assist each from midfielders Stephen Berger and Stephen Peyser, the Lizards opened the second half by scoring three consecutive goals to tie the game at 7-7 with 9:22 left in the third quarter.

But, the Nationals put together a four-goal run, including a pair of goals from rookie attackman and reigning Offensive Player of the Week Jeremy Boltus, to take an 11-7 advantage with 2:14 remaining in the period.

After Berger scored just over two minutes into the fourth quarter, the Nationals scored four goals in a row to extend their lead to 15-8 with 3:59 left. Midfielder Brett Bucktooth, who scored the game-winning goal in last Saturday's win over Rochester, sparked the run by scoring a goal with an assist.

Berger narrowed the deficit to six when he scored off a feed from former Hamilton attackman John Grant, Jr. with 47 seconds remaining.

While Crowley led the Nationals to the victory, Boltus posted three goals while Walters contributed two goals with two assists. Goalkeeper Scott Rodgers made 15 saves in the victory for Hamilton, which tied a team record with its third win in a row.

Berger led Long Island in a losing effort by scoring three goals with two assists while Peyser and attackman Matt Danowski each scored two goals with an assist.

The Nationals outshot Long Island by a commanding 46-33 margin and had a 44-29 advantage in ground balls.

Major League Lacrosse: Hamilton Nationals 15, Long Island Lizards 9

Long Island (2-5)  1-3-3-2 / 9
Hamilton (4-3)  4-3-4-4 / 15

One-Point Goals: LI - Stephen Berger 3, Stephen Peyser 2, Matt Danowski 2, Jay Card 1, John Grant, Jr. 1; HAM - Kevin Crowley 4, Jeremy Boltus 3, Joe Walters 2, David Earl 2, Brodie Merrill 1, Brett Bucktooth 1, Jeremy Thompson 1, Donny Moss 1. Two-Point Goals: LI - n/a; HAM - n/a. Assists: LI - Stephen Berger 2, Stephen Peyser 1, John Grant, Jr. 1, Brian Karalunas 1, Matt Danowski 1; HAM - Cody Jamieson 3, Joe Walters 2, Kevin Crowley 2, Brett Bucktooth 2, David Earl 2, Brodie Merrill 1, Kevin Ridgway 1, Jeremy Thompson 1. Saves: LI - Drew Adams 11 (60:00, 15 goals allowed); HAM - Scott Rodgers 15 (60:00, 9 goals allowed). Shots: LI - 33; HAM - 46. Power-Play Opportunities: LI - 0 for 4; HAM - 3 for 8. Attendance: 1,350.

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