The Lizards have been waiting for Mark Matthews, David Earl, and Matt Gibson to make their 2013 debut, and all three players made sure their presence was known. But even a hat trick from Matthews, a goal from Earl and two goals and three assists from Gibson was not enough to stop the Hamilton Nationals from handing the Lizards their second loss of the season.
Greg Gurenlian opened the first quarter winning every face-off he took. Matt Gibson wasted no time getting back to his 2012 Rookie of the Year habits, scoring the first goal of the game two minutes in. Hamilton’s Jeremy Thompson and Roman Lao-Gosney added two points for the Nationals before Mark Matthews scored his first goal as a Lizard with just under three minutes remaining in the quarter, ending the quarter all tied up at two.
Hamilton opened up the scoring in the second quarter with goals from Kevin Cunningham and Roy Lang. Stephen Berger brought the Lizards within one with an assist from Matt Gibson and Mark Matthews added an unassisted goal to tie the game at four. Cunningham added another goal for Hamilton, along with Martin Cahill to close out the National’s scoring efforts in the first half, before Matt Gibson found the back of the net once more, in the last 30 seconds, to close the half with the Lizards down by one, 6-5.
Greg “Beast” Gurenlian started the second half continuing to show his dominance at the X, before Jeremy Thompson scored, bringing the Nationals up 7-5. Cunningham added one more for the Nationals before the Lizards went on a four goal run to close out the third quarter. Mark Matthews completed a hat trick, followed by a two-point goal from Grant Catalino, and goals from Stephen Peyser and David Earl, closing out the quarter with a 10-8 lead.
John Austin put the Lizards’ run to an end just under five minutes into the fourth quarter with a two-point goal that tied the game back up at ten. Drew Adams had back-to-back saves with just under six to play, allowing the Lizards to take back possession and Stephen Peyser to score, putting the Lizards back up 11-10 with 5:21 left in the game. The Lizards were then called offsides with just 14 seconds remaining in the game. With the extra man, Hamilton’s Kevin Crowley scored his first goal of the night, a two-pointer to give the Nationals the lead with five seconds left. The Lizards were unable to score in the final seconds, with the Nationals winning 12-11.
Goalie Drew Adams had an outstanding game, making 14 saves and allowing ten goals and two 2-point goals. Greg “Beast” Gurenlian went 14-24 at the face-off X, and six different players scored points for the Lizards.
The Lizards fall to 1-2 on the season, with the team traveling to Ohio next weekend to take on the Machine Saturday at 8 PM. The Lizards then return home on May 31 to take on Charlotte at 7:30 PM.