NATIONALS FACE BACK-TO-BACK RATS THIS WEEKEND
6/21/11 12:00 AM
(Hamilton, June 21)... The Hamilton Nationals will embark on a home-and-home series against the Rochester Rattlers this weekend. The series kicks off on Friday, June 24th at Sahlen’s Stadium at 7:30 p.m. The second game is a 7:00 p.m. contest the following day at McMaster University’s Ron Joyce Stadium. Both games will be broadcast live on ESPN3.com.
The weekend is crucial for the Nationals, who are 1-3, and trail the Long Island Lizards (2-3) by a half a game for the fourth and final playoff spot in Major League Lacrosse. The young Nats are hungry for their second win of the season after losing to the first-place Denver Outlaws 15-7 last Saturday.
“This weekend is important because it gives us an opportunity to get back in the race,” said Cody Jamieson, who notched his first MLL hat trick this past weekend. “With all the changes we knew there would be an adjustment period. We have to get rolling soon.”
The Nationals earned their only win of the season against the Rattlers, defeating Rochester 14-13 in Rochester on June 10th. Joe Walters had a big night as he collected two goals. Jamieson also chipped in two goals and one assist, while Jordan Hall recorded four points (1+3). Meanwhile, the Rats lost for the fourth straight time last Saturday, dropping a hard-fought 16-14 decision to the Boston Cannons.
“Every game is important moving forward. We have a great opportunity to get to .500 and get on a roll. I like our squad. The more we play together we will gain that chemistry,” said Walters, who had three points against the Outlaws.
Nats Head Coach Regy Thorpe echoed the statement of his veteran midfielder. “We have a young team and have to learn from this and get better,” he said. “We can get right back in the playoff hunt with games against Rochester next weekend. They are big games for both teams.”
The Nationals will rely on offense by committee with four players having seven-plus points. Midfielder Jordan Hall is the team leader with nine points (5+4), while Walters (4+4) has eight points and Jamieson (6+1) and Jeremy Boltus (2+5) have chipped in with seven each. Geoff Snider has also added 26 ground balls, three points and 59 faceoff wins this season. He ranks second in the MLL with a 55 percent faceoff winning percentage. Despite the loss on Saturday, goalie Joe Marra is third in the MLL with a 10.78 goals-against average. Brett Queener also saw his first action of the season in the second quarter.
Rochester is looking for its first win since returning to the MLL this season. In the last two games, the Rattlers have lost by a combined three goals. On Saturday, the team got some added firepower from Stony Brook‘s Jordan McBride, who was named the Cascade Major League Lacrosse Rookie of the Week. McBride ended up with four goals and two assists in his professional debut.
“We drafted McBride in the second round of this year’s draft to come in and score some goals for us. It’s great to see him come out and contribute right away. He’s a player with a lot of potential who has a chance to score a lot of goals for us. Crotty, McBride, and Catalino give us an attacking group with a lot of upside,” said Rattlers Head Coach BJ O’Hara to www.rochesterrattlers.com.
The Rattlers offense has been led by second-year pro Ned Crotty. The former Duke standout recorded five goals and two assists in his only meeting with the Nationals. Crotty is fifth in the MLL with 17 points and tied for second with 12 goals.
After this weekend, the Rattlers will travel to play the defending champion Chesapeake Bayhawks at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, July 2nd. The contest will be televised live on ESPN2. The Nationals will host the Long Island Lizards and John Grant Jr. at 7:00 p.m. on Friday, July 1st. The contest will be broadcast live on ESPN3.com.