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Kimmel Led Way with Six Points as Bayhawks Beat Nationals, 14-10

March 18, 2016
Annapolis, MD - Midfielder Michael Kimmel totaled six points on four goals and two assists as the Chesapeake Bayhawks raced out to a big early lead then rebuffed a brief rally to beat the Hamilton Nationals, 14-10, on Thursday night at Ron Joyce Stadium.

Kimmel, a second-year player out of Johns Hopkins, was hot from outside in scoring three of his goals on crank shots – two from the right side and one from the left – in being named Bud Light Most Valuable Player of the game.

“Playing with Kyle Dixon and Ben Hunt on the first line really opens opportunities for me because I always draw the short stick and the long poles don’t want to come off the big shooters,” Kimmel said. “I got some open looks and shot the ball well tonight.”

Attackman Danny Glading totaled five points on three goals and two assists for Chesapeake, which improved the record to 2-0. Newly-acquired midfielder Dan Hardy added two goals and an assist while attackman Brendan Cannon contributed three assists in his debut for the Bayhawks.

“We know that Hamilton has a lot of talent and a lot of firepower so we wanted to get off to a good start,” Kimmel said. “Hamilton was coming off a loss on the road so we knew they would be fired up to win their first game at home. We just had to come out and match their intensity.”

Kimmel and Glading both had two goals and an assist as Chesapeake grabbed a comfortable 9-4 lead at halftime. Hardy scored two goals and Cannon dished off two assists as the Bayhawks scored seven unanswered goals to transform a 2-1 deficit into an 8-2 lead.

“We shot the ball really well early in the game and getting that big lead proved to be important,” Chesapeake president and offensive coordinator Dave Cottle said.

Goalie Chris Garrity made seven saves in the first half for the visiting Bayhawks, who held the Nationals scoreless for nearly 13 minutes. Hamilton rookie attackman Jeremy Boltus stopped the Chesapeake onslaught with a power play goal with 7:26 left in the second quarter and that started a comeback for the home team.

Attackman Garett Billings scored two goals as Hamilton used a 5-1 run to cut the deficit to 9-7 with just 5:18 elapsed in the third quarter. However, perennial All-Pro midfielder Kyle Dixon halted the rally with a 2-point goal that stretched the Chesapeake lead back to 11-7 with 7:34 remaining in the third quarter.

Glading followed a few minutes later with an inside goal off an assist from Cannon while Kimmel opened the fourth quarter with an unassisted goal off a wicked left-handed crank shot as the Bayhawks increased the lead to 13-7.

Chesapeake played without three starters – attackman Brian Carroll, midfielderSteven Brooks and defenseman Michael Evans.

“To win on the road without three key players is a real testament to the competitiveness of this team and is going to give us a lot of confidence moving forward,” Cottle said. “We showed a lot of heart and determination tonight.”

Indeed, Chesapeake lost Dixon and Cannon to injuries during the second half and had to finish the game short-handed on the offensive end. Hardy, who was acquired via trade with Denver a few days before the season opener, bumped down to attack to replace Cannon and that left the Bayhawks with just four offensive midfielders.

Cottle felt the defensive midfield comprised of long pole Kyle Hartzell and short sticks Matt Abbott and Jeff Reynolds was a huge factor in the victory. Hartzell did not play in Chesapeake’s season opener because he was still with the Washington Stealth of the indoor professional National Lacrosse League, which lost to Toronto in the championship game last weekend.

“I thought Kyle Hartzell made a big impact tonight and the shorties (Abbott, Reynolds and Brett Manney) were all outstanding,” Cottle said.

Head coach Brendan Kelly inserted backup goalie Brian Phipps in the second half and the rookie was solid in his Major League Lacrosse debut with six saves.

“Chris Garrity is going to miss two games this season so we wanted to get Brian some meaningful time in a game that matters so he gains some experience,” Cottle said.

Billings finished with three goals while fellow attackman John Grant dished off three assists for Hamilton (0-2), which lost despite winning 15 of 26 faceoffs. Geoff Snider won 14 of those draws while goalie Joe Marra came off the bench to make nine saves for the Nationals.