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Analyzing Semifinal #2 Hamilton at Chesapeake

By Sam Gest |  8/23/13 11:45 AM

Analyzing Semifinal #2 Hamilton at Chesapeake


As MLL Championship Weekend presented by Smartlink approaches, our MLL Insiders haven taken a deeper look into this week's matchups. Today we take a look at semifinal number two between the Chesapeake Bayhawks and Hamilton Nationals. The Bayhawks are poised to repeat their success of 2012 but the will have to get past a very strong Nationals team to do so. Let's take a look at the numbers and see who has the advantage in 2013's second playoff game.

Offense

Chesapeake       

  •  2nd in the league in scoring, with 13.79 points per game.
  • Three attackmen in the top 20 in scoring. Drew Westervelt (36G, 12A, 48 pts), Ben Rubeor (30G, 11A, 41 pts) and John Grant Jr. (20G, 12A, 32 pts).
  • Kyle Dixon (28 points) and Ben Hunt (26 points) lead the midfield corp offensively.
  • With 405 shots on the season, Chesapeake has taken the second most shots in the MLL.
  • 4th in the league with a .287 shooting percentage.
  • .373 power play success rate, good for third in the league.
  • Assisted on 54 percent of goals in 2013

 

Hamilton

  • 5th in the league in scoring, with 12.87 points per game.
  • Three players in the top 20 in scoring. Kevin Crowley is tied for first in the league with 55 points, while Joe Walters (48 points) and Kevin Cunningham (39 points) rank first and second in the league in assists, respectively.
  • Attackmen Cody Jamieson (23) and Stephen Keogh (20) have also reached the 20-point plateau.
  • 5th in the league in shots attempted and shooting percentage, with 363 and .286, respectively.
  • Have the best man-up unit, which scores at a .469 clip.
  • 2nd in the league in assists, with 109, and assist on the highest percentage of goals (.641).

Advantage – Hamilton

Despite being ranked lower in most offensive categories, including points per game, we’re giving Hamilton the offensive advantage. But what can’t be overlooked is that Hamilton has the best offensive player in the MLL in 2013 Warrior MVP Kevin Crowley. Chesapeake can put up great numbers, but their offense can be very stagnant from time to time, as they rely quite a bit on one-on-one matchups. Hamilton, on the other hand, shares the rock better than any team in the league, perhaps excluding Denver. Because of the star power of Crowley and Joe Walters, and the team’s ability to share the ball, we’re giving the Hamilton offense the edge in this one.

 

Defense

Chesapeake

  • 2nd in the league with a goals against average of 10.64.
  • Defenders Barney Ehrmann and Michael Evans represented the Bayhawks in the 2013 MLL All-Star Game presented by Moe’s Southwest Grill.
  • 58.5 penalty minutes served on the season, tied for most in the league.
  • Killed 71.2 percent of power plays in the regular season, good for second in the league.

Hamilton

  • 3rd in the league with a 12.0 goals against average.
  • Defender Brodie Merrill was the lone Nationals defender selected to the All-Star Game.
  • Have possibly the best young defender in the league in Tucker Durkin.
  • Tied for most penalty minutes served, with 58.5.
  • Ranked 6th in penalty killing, with a kill-rate of 66.7 percent.

Advantage – Chesapeake

This was another category where there was no obvious answer, but in our opinion, the Bayhawks defense has the upper hand in this matchup. It’s hard to judge defenses by simply numbers alone, but the fact that Chesapeake had two defenders in the All-Star Game to Hamilton’s one shows that they have the edge in shut-down defenders. Also not noted above is the fact that the Chesapeake defense has allowed 43 less shots than the Hamilton defense has, equal to just over three shots per game, and in a game like lacrosse, those three shots can make all the difference.

 

Goaltending

Chesapeake – Kip Turner

  • Ranks second in the league with a goals against average of 10.35. That number is good for third best all-time in the MLL record books.
  • 3rd in the league with a .571 save percentage.
  • Allowed five two-point goals in 2013, second least among goalies who played in at least ten games.
  • Had an incredible goals against average of 7.56 at last seasons Champ Weekend, while stopping .643 percent of shots faced.

 

Hamilton – Brett Queener

  • 4th in the league with a 12.01 goals against average.
  • Ranks second in the league with a .586 save percentage.
  • Allowed seven two-point goals in only 11 appearances.
  • Coming off one of the worst games of his career, stopping only two of thirteen shots in a week 14 loss to Denver.

 

Advantage – Chesapeake

While you can’t go wrong with either goalie, we’re taking the steady stopping ability of Turner over Queener, simply because he’s the more consistent goalie. Both were All-Stars in 2013, and both have had tremendous efforts at Champ Weekend before, but Queener’s week 14 performance scares us. Despite being better than any goalie in the league at making incredible, athletic saves, Queener allows too many soft goals when he’s not on his ‘A’ game. In Turner, we know we’re getting a goalie who will save the shots he should, as well as a few he probably shouldn’t, and that’s why he gets the edge in this matchup.

 

Conclusion

Based on the conclusions drawn above, Chesapeake would appear to have the upper hand. But both of these teams are extremely talented, with neither having an obvious advantage in any category. In our opinion, Chesapeake is the better team on paper. But there’s a reason the game isn’t played on paper, and as we’ve seen in the past, anything can happen in the playoffs. Chesapeake looks hungry to get back to the Championship Game and repeat as MLL champs, but a strong and talented Hamilton team stands in their way. We’re picking the defending champs to get back to the title game due to the fact that they’ve been the more consistent team all season long. Be sure to tune in to CBS Sports Network at 4 P.M. EST on Saturday, August 24 to see if our predictions come true.



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