Kevin Crowley scored a career-high five goals as the Hamilton Nationals won for a franchise best fourth straight time, defeating the Ohio Machine 16-9 at Selby Stadium in Delaware, Ohio on Thursday night.
Crowley led the Nationals with six points (5+1), while Joe Walters added seven (4+3). With the win, the Nats (4-0) move into a tie for first place with the Denver Outlaws, while the Machine falls to 0-4.
The game saw the debut of several rookies including Loyola’s Josh Hawkins for the Nationals and UNC’s Marcus Holman and Ohio State’s Dominique Alexander and Logan Schuss for the Machine.
Hamilton opened the game with back-to-back goals by Crowley and Walters, who both tied the team’s consecutive game points record of 19. The duo hooked up for the third Nationals’ goal with Crowley finishing a feed from Walters. The assist was the 100th of Walters’ MLL career. Kiel Matisz scored an extra-man goal with 15 seconds left in the first quarter to get Ohio on the board.
In the second, Crowley and Walters continued their assault on the Machine defense. Walters scored his second of the night and then set up Crowley’s third of the game. Defenseman MJ Kiekebelt got in on the scoring as well, connecting on the first two-point goal of his career to give the Nats a 7-2 advantage. Ohio battled back with three goals from Joe Cummings, and Steele Stanwick’s second of the night to climb within one, 7-6.
The game broke open in the third quarter as Crowley started an 8-0 run after Ohio had tied the game with a two-pointer from Holman, his first career goal. Holman would end his first professional game with a total of four points contributing two helpers to the Machine’s effort.
Hamilton answered with goals by Crowley, Cameron Lao-Gosney, Roman Lao-Gosney and Hawkins to end the third up 12-8.
The Nationals continued their unanswered run in the fourth with goals from Stephen Keogh, Martin Cahill and a pair by Walters before Kyle Hartzell would bring one back to fix the final result at 16-9.
Hamilton stays on the road as it visits the defending MLL Champion Chesapeake Bayhawks (3-1) on Saturday, June 1 in Annapolis, Md., while Ohio travels to Rochester on Sunday, June 2, to face the 1-3 Rattlers. Both contests will be televised live nationally on CBS Sports Network.