The Hamilton Nations grabbed their first win in three weeks on Saturday Night at Florida Atlantic University (FAU) in Boca Raton, FL, stealing away a 17-11 victory over the Rochester Rattlers.
Both teams were looking to bounce back from tough week seven losses, and after an impressive offensive outing the Nationals came out victorious, led by a six point performance by player of the game, Joe Walters.
The first quarter saw plenty of action, but most of that action came from the Nationals while in Rattlers’ territory, with Hamilton grabbing the early lead. In their first possession Walters put one past Rochester’s John Galloway for the 1-0 lead. This was immediately followed by Kevin Crowley’s first of the night, off a feed from Stephen Keogh. Tom Montelli however had an answer for Keogh and returned with an unassisted goal to put the Rattlers on the board. Hamilton’s scoring continued, including another goal by Crowley followed by Martin Cahill, who found the back of the net off a feed from Walters. With Hamilton up 4-1, Rattler’s John Ranagan managed to put a goal in to close out the quarter.
The second quarter opened up with a goal from Kevin Leveilleputting Rochester behind by only one point at 4-3. Hamilton had plenty of answers however with a four-goal run, including Crowley’s third of the game to complete a hat trick within the first half. Cahil also contributed with his second goal of the game, making a two-pointer look easy. The last thirty seconds of the quarter saw another point for Rochester from K. Leveillefollowed immediately by a perfect shot fired from the stick of Roy Lang. This put Hamilton in double digits, at 10-4 heading into the second half.
In the third stanza, strong defensive play on both sides of the field, slowed down the scoring with one goal just 30 seconds in from the Nationals’ Kevin Cunningham. It wasn’t until the 6:31 mark that Cahill completed his hat trick. This was then responded to by Rochester’s rookie, Dave Lawson, finding a way past Hamilton’s Brett Queener to make it a 12-5 game. Ranagan made it back-to-back goals for Rochester cutting their deficit in half after rolling the ball into the goal. Cunningham didn’t let that last long bouncing another point in for his 20th goal on the season.
The last fifteen minutes of the game heated up with plenty of back-and-forth between the two teams. Rochester seemed to find a groove with back-to back goals from Steven Denhoff and Ranagan who completed the hat trick. Keogh, Ned Crotty, Walters, and Cahill had answers though and held on to Hamitlon’s lead, 16-9. After threatening all game, Rochester’s Steve DeNapoli, hooked one in past Queener to close the gap. That was not enough with less than five minutes left on the clock. John Ranagan and Walters each got one more in for their respective teams to close out the game. Hamilton walked away victorious in a lopsided 17-11 win.
The Nationals improve to 6-2 on the season, making a strong case for the playoffs with the second best record in the league. The Rattlers have now dropped further down to a 3-5 record, as they struggled to put a stop to Hamilton’s scoring.
Next week both teams will return home. The Nationals are slated to host the 4-4 Chesapeake Bayhawks on Saturday, June 29. They will look to continue their winning ways in their road to the playoffs. The Rattlers will try to bounce back and welcome the New York Lizards in a Sunday afternoon contest at 3:00 on June 30, broadcast nationally on CBS Sports Network.
· John Ranagan’s hat trick in Saturday’s contest makes that three straight games that he has completed a hat trick.
· Player of the game, Joe Walters completed a hat trick and offered three assists in the game for a total of six points on the night.
· Kevin Crowley briefly gave up his title as league leading scorer after Boston’s Paul Rabil put up five points Friday night, but reclaimed the number one spot with three points in the game. He now has a total of 35 points on the season.
· Brett Queener came up with 25 saves between the pipes on 36 shots on goal, while John Galloway made 11 saves on 27 shots to try and stop the scoring efforts of the Nationals.
· Of the nine goals scored by the two teams in the fourth quarter, all were unassisted.
· Crowley continues his point-streak, now at 23 games, the longest in franchise history.
· Queener’s 25 saves in the game is a new team record for Hamilton.