By Steven Gross | 6/15/12 12:00 AM
The Big Picture: The Chesapeake Bayhawks will host the Hamilton Nationals at Navy Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in Annapolis, Mayland this weekend on Saturday, June 16th at 7 p.m. (ET). The Nationals are on a two game winning streak after beating the Rattlers last week 17 -8. The Bayhawks scored seven goals in the first quarter to beat the Charlotte Hounds 15-7 last week. Chesapeake was able to improve to 5-1 on the season and secure 1st place in the overall standings.
This is the second time this season that the two teams have faced each other. The Bayhawks were able to pull off the 20-7 win in Hamilton on Friday, May 18th.
Chesapeake Bayhawks: The Bayhawks hope to build off of their three game winning streak and league best 5-1 record. Last time they faced the Nationals, the Bayhawks were able to score 10 goals in the first half and only let up seven in the whole game. Coach Cottle is hoping that his team can play strong defense this weekend but he knows that “Stephen Keogh and those guys are so dangerous inside so we will have to make sure we improve defensively.” Coach Cottle also knows that they have to keep improving to stay on top of the standings and the only way to do that is through experience. Look out for Chesapeake to come out strong and running this weekend against Hamilton.
Players to Watch: Last time these teams faced each other, Michael Kimmel was able to put up six goals with eight points against the Nationals. He was not able to get any point’s last game so look out for him to get hot this weekend. Drew Westervelt was able to pick up the league’s Offensive Player of the Week award last week with a season-high five points by scoring four goals and getting one assist. Keep an eye on him to repeat this performance against the Nationals. Face-off specialist Adam Rand is having a great season by winning 95 out of 167 face-offs for a face-off percentage of .568 with 28 ground balls. Last weekend he was a huge part of the win over the Hounds by winning 11 out of his first 12 face-offs. Look out for Ben Hunt who scored three goals last time against the Nationals. If you look at his game stats, he gets points every other game and this would be a point scoring weekend for him. Finally, many Bayhawks made the 2012 MLL All-Star Game roster such as Michael Evans, Ben Hunt, Steven Brooks, Kyle Dixon, Nicky Polanco, Brian Spallina and Drew Westervelt.
Hamilton Nationals: After a disappointing start to the season by going 0-3 with their last lost to the Bayhawks, the Nationals have been able to go 2-0 with wins against the Machine 18-17 and Rattlers 17-8. They have been able to move the ball faster on offense as their whole team has finally come together and been able to build chemistry. Coach Regy Thorpe believes that “the guys are starting to get a better feel of how to play with each other. It’s been fun to watch them develop.” With the offense clicking on all cylinders, the defense has been pretty solid with a .615 save percentage. Look out for the Nationals to put up a good fight against the Bayhawks this time around.
Players to Watch: Since the return of Joe Walters, Stephen Keogh, and Cody Jamieson, they have combined for 14 goals and eight assists totaling to 22 points in just two games. Look for them to keep their foot on the pedal and score a ton of goals this weekend. Also, Joe Walters is just one point away from the joining the 200 club. He has ten points in just two games so keep an eye on him at the beginning of the game to get that point. Hamilton’s face-off specialist Matt Dolente, who is in his second season, is going to give Adam Rand a work out. He is 79 out of 133 for a face-off percentage of .594 and last week he went 19-29. Kevin Crowley has received at least three points in each of his four games this season. He might be young but has been an above average player for the Nationals this year. Finally, Hamilton is sending six Nationals to the 2012 MLL All-Star Game such as Matt Dolente, David Earl, Stephen Keogh, Casey Powell, Brett Queener, and Joe Walters.
Next Match-Ups:The Bayhawks will stay at home next weekend as they face the Boston Cannons on Saturday, June 23rd at 7:00 PM (ET) at Navy Marine Corps Memorial Stadium. The Hamilton Nationals stay on the road as they will face Rochester on Saturday, June 23 at 7:00 PM (ET) at Sahlen Stadium.