Nationals Crush Bayhawks; Cannons Clinch
ANNAPOLIS, MD Attackman Jeremy Boltus and midfielder Joe Walters led a balanced offense with two goals and two assists apiece as the Hamilton Nationals soundly defeated the Chesapeake Bayhawks, 16-6, before an audience of 7,962 at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium on Saturday night.

We obviously didn't show up to play tonight and they did. It was a bad performance all-around," Chesapeake head coach Brendan Kelly said. "We were sloppy and they made us pay for every mistake we made tonight. We turned the ball over something like 17 times, and whenever you do that you're in trouble."

Midfielder Stephen Keogh scored three goals for Hamilton (6-4), which has won five of its last six games to move into second place in Major League Lacrosse (MLL). Midfielder Kevin Crowley contributed a goal and two assists for the Nationals, who outscored the Bayhawks 7-0 in the second quarter to take control.

"You can't go scoreless in the second quarter and expect to contend," Kelly said. "They went on a 7-0 run and we never recovered from it. We tried to regroup at halftime, but couldn't respond and they continued to bury us."

Long stick defensive midfielder Brodie Merrill was a force on both ends of the field for Hamilton gobbling up nine ground balls, clearing the ball effectively and dishing off three assists. Merrill was named Bud Light Most Valuable Player of the Game.

"Brodie Merrill was phenomenal tonight. He was definitely the difference maker out there. He really created a lot of transition for them," Kelly said.

Goalie Scott Rodgers made 13 saves to key a superb defensive effort by the Nationals, who limited the Bayhawks to six goals on 34 shots. Chesapeake's six points were the fewest in the MLL this season.

"We were getting off good shots and they just weren't falling," said Brooks, who celebrated his 27th birthday last night. "I thought Rodgers played phenomenal tonight. He made some fantastic saves."

Midfielders David Earl and Jordan Hall both added two goals for Hamilton, which went on a decisive 9-0 run in the first half. Geoff Snider got the better of Chesapeake ace Alex Smith on face-offs winning 15 of 26. That possession dominance enabled the visitors to unleash 42 shots on Bayhawks goalies Brian Phipps (five saves) and Chris Garrity (four saves).

Brian Carroll scored two goals while fellow attackman Danny Glading had a goal and an assist for Chesapeake (5-5), which has lost two games in a row. Midfielder Steven Brooks had a goal and assist for the Bayhawks, who suffered their most lopsided loss of the season.

Brooks and Rubeor scored back-to-back goals just over two minutes apart to give Chesapeake a 2-1 lead with 4:30 remaining in the first quarter. However, Keogh and Earl closed the opening period with consecutive goals to give the Nationals a 3-2 lead they would never relinquish. That began a decisive 9-0 run that put the visitors ahead 10-2 at halftime.

Chesapeake travels to Rochester next Saturday before concluding the regular season at home against Denver on August 13th. The Bayhawks finished the season series 2-1 against the Nationals this season and thus would win a potential tiebreaker for the playoffs.

"I'm not really worried. We have two important games ahead of us so we can't look back. We have to stay positive and finish the season strong," Kelly said. "Hopefully, we can go on the road next week and find some chemistry then finish strong against Denver."

* * * *

DENVER -- The Boston Cannons defeated the Denver Outlaws 10-9 in a back-and-forth match Saturday night in front of a crowd of 7,804 at INVESCO Field at Mile High.

Despite a two-goal fourth quarter lead, the Outlaws were unable to snap their losing streak, which was extended to a franchise-record four games. It marks the second time this month that Boston was able to beat Denver, clinching the season series against the Outlaws and a playoff berth.

With the loss, the Outlaws fall to 5-5 on the season and descend to a tie for third place with the Chesapeake Bayhawks in the league standings.

Entering the fourth quarter, Denver held a thin one-goal advantage. Drew Westervelt completed his hat trick early in the quarter, whipping it past Boston goalie Jordan Burke to put the Outlaws up 8-6 with under 14 minutes to play.

Brad Ross scored a power play, two-point goal later in the quarter to tie the contest at eight. It was Boston's second power play goal of the contest.

Brendan Mundorf completed his own hat trick with 3:59 to play, giving the Outlaws a 9-8 lead.

Boston scored back-to-back goals within the next three minutes as Max Quinzani and Kevin Buchanan each scored past Outlaws goalie Jessie Schwartzman.

The Outlaws regained possession with 54 seconds in regulation, but lost possession 17 seconds later and Boston was able to run out most of the remaining time.

A penalty was called with four seconds left on the clock, but the Outlaws were unable to convert off of the quick shot situation as the clock expired.

In the third quarter, Boston jumped ahead early behinds goals from MLL-leading scorer Paul Rabil and Pat Heim, but the Outlaws erased the deficit once again when Mundorf and Billy Bitter each scored to put Denver up 5-4.

Westervelt gave the Outlaws a two-goal lead, their largest of the game, when he scored off of an assist from Terry Kimener midway through the quarter.

Rabil recorded his second unassisted goal of the quarter less than three minutes later, slipping the ball past Schwartzman to make the contest 6-5 with under five to play.

Exactly a minute later, Bitter fed Peet Poillon for an easy goal as the Outlaws went up 7-5.

- -

Denver, CO - July 30, 2011: Bud Light Player of the Game Kevin Buchanan scored the game-winning goal with 1:06 in the game, giving the Cannons (7-3) a 10-9 victory over the Denver Outlaws (5-5), clinching a playoff berth for the ninth time in the Cannons' 11 seasons. Down 3-2 at halftime, the Cannons came from behind in Denver for the second time this season, winning the tie breaker between the teams to be the first in Major League Lacrosse to clinch a spot in Championship Weekend.

"We knew we were going to have to come in here and earn this victory," said Cannons head coach Bill Daye. "The fact that we battled all the way to the end is what I'm most proud of, and we were able to finish it and get the win. Clinching the playoffs means only that; our focus now is on facing a strong Nationals team in Hamilton next week."

The game began slowly for both offenses, with the first quarter ending in a 1-1 tie on goals from Matt Poskay for the Cannons and Terry Kimener for the Outlaws. Poskay had the first tally again in the second quarter, but the Outlaws answered twice to take a 3-2 lead into halftime.

Both offenses came alive after the break, each scoring four goals in the third quarter. Paul Rabil scored twice, Pat Heim added one and Kyle Sweeney scored a man-down goal with less than a minute to play to keep the Cannons within one going into the final 15 minutes.

Drew Westervelt and Brendan Mundorf each completed a hat trick in the fourth quarter, but those were the only two Outlaws goals to the Cannons' three, kicked off by Brad Ross' two-point goal to tie the game at eight. Max Quinzani scored before Buchanan's give-and-go with Heim cemented the victory.

The Cannons next travel to Hamilton to face the Nationals on August 6 at 7:00 PM EST. The Cannons' last home game is Saturday, August 13 against the Rochester Rattlers at 7:00 PM EST. Championship Weekend takes place August 27 & 28 at Navy Marine Corps Stadium in Annapolis.