Lengthy Offensive Droughts Leads to Bayhawks’ Most Lopsided Loss of Season
ANNAPOLIS, MD – Attackman
Jeremy Boltus and midfielder
Joe Walters led a balanced offense with two goals and two assists apiece as the Hamilton Nationals soundly defeated the Chesapeake Bayhawks, 16-6, before an audience of 7,962 at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium on Saturday night.
We obviously didn’t show up to play tonight and they did. It was a bad performance all-around,” Chesapeake head coach
Brendan Kelly said. “We were sloppy and they made us pay for every mistake we made tonight. We turned the ball over something like 17 times, and whenever you do that you’re in trouble.”
Stephen Keogh scored three goals for Hamilton (6-4), which has won five of its last six games to move into second place in Major League Lacrosse (MLL). Midfielder
Kevin Crowley contributed a goal and two assists for the Nationals, who outscored the Bayhawks 7-0 in the second quarter to take control.
“You can’t go scoreless in the second quarter and expect to contend,” Kelly said. “They went on a 7-0 run and we never recovered from it. We tried to regroup at halftime, but couldn’t respond and they continued to bury us.”
Long stick defensive midfielder
Brodie Merrill was a force on both ends of the field for Hamilton – gobbling up nine ground balls, clearing the ball effectively and dishing off three assists. Merrill was named Bud Light Most Valuable Player of the Game.
“Brodie Merrill was phenomenal tonight. He was definitely the difference maker out there. He really created a lot of transition for them,” Kelly said.
Scott Rodgers made 13 saves to key a superb defensive effort by the Nationals, who limited the Bayhawks to six goals on 34 shots. Chesapeake’s six points were the fewest in the MLL this season.
“We were getting off good shots and they just weren’t falling,” said Brooks, who celebrated his 27
th birthday last night. “I thought Rodgers played phenomenal tonight. He made some fantastic saves.”
David Earl and
Jordan Hall both added two goals for Hamilton, which went on a decisive 9-0 run in the first half.
Geoff Snider got the better of Chesapeake ace
Alex Smith on face-offs – winning 15 of 26. That possession dominance enabled the visitors to unleash 42 shots on Bayhawks goalies
Brian Phipps (five saves) and
Chris Garrity (four saves).
Brian Carrollscored two goals while fellow attackman
Danny Glading had a goal and an assist for Chesapeake (5-5), which has lost two games in a row. Midfielder
Steven Brooks had a goal and assist for the Bayhawks, who suffered their most lopsided loss of the season.
Brooks and Rubeor scored back-to-back goals just over two minutes apart to give Chesapeake a 2-1 lead with 4:30 remaining in the first quarter. However, Keogh and Earl closed the opening period with consecutive goals to give the Nationals a 3-2 lead they would never relinquish. That began a decisive 9-0 run that put the visitors ahead 10-2 at halftime.
Chesapeake travels to Rochester next Saturday before concluding the regular season at home against Denver on August 13
th. The Bayhawks finished the season series 2-1 against the Nationals this season and thus would win a potential tiebreaker for the playoffs.
“I’m not really worried. We have two important games ahead of us so we can’t look back. We have to stay positive and finish the season strong,” Kelly said. “Hopefully, we can go on the road next week and find some chemistry then finish strong against Denver.”