6/25/11 8:00 PM
(Hamilton, June 25)… For five weeks, Scott Rodgers has been waiting to get the nod to start in goal for the Hamilton Nationals. Tonight, he got his chance and made 17 saves, three of those in overtime, in a 15-14 win over the Rochester Rattlers.
“We had a couple chances early on and I figured I had to make one save,” said Rodgers. “I already lost a big game in overtime for the national championship. I didn’t want to win this one.”
Brett Bucktooth won it at 7:41 to deny Rochester the completion of one of the greatest comebacks in Major League Lacrosse history. The Rattlers rallied with eight straight points over the final 18 minutes to erase a 14-6 deficit and force overtime. Rodgers and Stefan Schroeder both made stops in the extra session, including a Rodgers’ save that led to the fast break by Merrill and the feed to Bucktooth.
Hamilton earned a season sweep of the Rochester Rattlers with its second win in two days and third of the season. The Nationals improved to 3-3 and won its first home game of the season. The victory equaled the Nationals' win total from last year.
Joe Walters notched six assists to set a team single-game record as part of an eight-point night. The midfielder tied the team record with eight points. He recorded 15 points in two days against Rochester. Hamilton rookie David Earl recorded a career-high four goals to give him seven in two days. Cody Jamieson added his second MLL hat trick and rookie Kevin Crowley collected a career-best three points (1+2). Jeremy Boltus netted two goals on his 22nd birthday.
Rochester got five-point nights from Ned Crotty (1+4) and Jeff Colburn (3+2). John Galloway took the loss, while making five stops. Schroeder made his pro debut in the third quarter and ended the game with four saves. Rochester fell to 0-6 with the loss. Nats defenseman Sid Smith shut down Grant Catalino, who entered the game one day removed from tying the MLL single-game goal mark of nine.
Unlike Friday night, the Nationals jumped out to the early lead. Hamilton’s David Earl opened the game with a spectacular goal, beating Galloway with a shot while he was falling to the ground at 3:11. Less than a minute later, Jordan Hall scored his ninth goal of the season. Walters assisted on both Hamilton goals. Rochester’s Matthew Cassalia scored an equally impressive goal while being knocked to the ground to make it 2-1 at 4:45.
Boltus then used his chest to make it 3-1, as the pass from Crowley bounced in off the rookie attackman at 6:52.
Rochester regrouped and went on a 3-0 run to take as 4-3 lead at 10:19. Martin Cahill cut the deficit back to one with a rocket that skimmed the helmet of Rodgers, who was making his first start since May 19th. The marker made it 3-2 Nationals at 7:28. Cassalia then tied the contest at 8:32 with his second of the night as he weaved through traffic and scored on a low bounce shot. Jordan McBride gave the Rattlers their first lead of the game at 10:19 off a nasty stick fake. Hamilton used a two-man advantage to even the game at 13:03 off a crisp passing play from Walters to Cody Jamieson.
Bucktooth struck just 49 seconds into the second to give Hamilton the lead back at 5-4. Crowley collected his second assist of the night. Jamieson then ripped one in off a pass from Merrill at 1:20 for a 6-4 advantage. Crotty stopped the 3-0 Nationals’ run with a shot on the run from the left wing that skipped past Rodgers at 4:21. Earl rifled a shot to the far post for his second of the game and a 7-5 lead at 6:11. Cahill answered his second of the night to trim the Hamilton lead to 7-6 with just over eight to go. Crowley got the lead back to two at 8-6 off Walters’ fourth assist of the game. Earl scored a goal in the final minute for his third of the night and a three-goal lead at 9-6.
Walters set the team mark at 1:44 of the third with an assist to Boltus for a 10-6 Hamilton lead. Walters decided to shoot it himself at 3:53 as the lead increased to 11-6. Jamieson completed the hat trick at 4:39 as part of a 5-0 Nationals’ surge. Earl netted his career-best fourth goal from Walters at 6:21 for a 13-6 lead. Walters added his second marker of the third at 9:49 to give him eight points. Colburn ended Hamilton’s 7-0 run with a goal at 11:59.
Colburn ignited a 6-0 fourth-quarter Rochester rally. His three-goal of the night at 3:43 of the fourth quarter cut the deficit to 14-9. The Rattlers notched their third straight off a rebound goal by McBride at 5:04. McBride scored his second straight and third of the night from Crotty at 6:28 to trim the Hamilton lead to 14-11. Striebel trimmed the lead to one with a two-point man-up goal at 11:31. Colburn tied the contest from Ned Crotty with 52.9 seconds to play.
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.