8/27/11 10:34 PM
(Annapolis, Md., August 27)… Rookie Jeremy Boltus had never lost in Annapolis while playing against Navy for the US Military Academy. Saturday, he recorded an MVP performance with one goal and one assist to lead the Hamilton Nationals to an 11-9 win over the Denver Outlaws.
Hamilton will face the Boston Cannons for the 2011 Sports Authority Major League Lacrosse Championship Sunday at 3:00 p.m. at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium.
With the first stages of Hurricane Irene belting the stadium, the Nats won to return to the championship game for the first time since the 2009 championship season. The weather appeared worse to a viewing audience and did not phase veteran Casey Powell, who hails from West Carthage, NY.
"The conditions were fine. I am from northern New York where it's cold with hail and snow. The rain actually cooled us down and it was really fun to play in," said Powell, who came out of retirement to play for Hamilton at the end of the season. Powell led the Nationals with one goal and three assists and had a hand in the quick start.
He opened the game by assisting on a beautiful turnaround goal by Brett Bucktooth at 1:28. David Earl then raced down the middle and ripped on in at 2:27 for a 2-0 lead. Drew Westervelt got the Outlaws on the board at 3:30.The Nationals used another goal from their talented rookie class as Kevin Crowley bounced on in at 4:29 off a pretty feed from Cody Jamieson. Joe Walters made it 4-1 as he skipped a shot past Jesse Schwartzman. Earl followed suit with a skip shot for a 5-1 lead at 7:50. Rookie Jeremy Thompson made it 6-1 with a bouncer. Westervelt added his second goal, this time on the power play at 10:40 to make it 6-2.
The weather picked up in the second and so did the Denver offense as they scored five times, including opening the quarter with consecutive goals by Max Seibald and Brendan Mundorf to cut the deficit to 6-4. Jordan Hall ended the 3-0 Outlaws run with an alley dodge and goal at 5:02. Mundorf picked up another point on an assist to Billy Bitter at 8:03. Bitter tacked on another at 11:13 of the second on the power play to cut the gap to 7-6. Hamilton got a big goal before halftime as Walters fed Rookie of the Year Jeremy Boltus for a goal at 14:49 for an 8-6 lead.
It was Bitter not Mundorf that led the Outlaws with four points (3+1). Mundorf, who recorded 18 points in two games against the Nats this season, was limited to the two second-quarter points. The Nationals used an array of short sticks in Dan Burns, Brice Queener and Donny Moss to shut down one of the most dangerous players in the league.
“It was a big task…it was fun to do it. It was Regy’s plan and we believe in him,” said Queener of Head Coach Regy Thorpe. “They slid to you a lot so it makes it a lot easier. Rubisch helped me out and the goalies made some big stops.”
In the third quarter, the Nationals jumped out to a 10-6 lead as Powell and Hall connected for a 10-6 advantage. Brett Queener took over in goal for Scott Rodgers and added a spark to the Nats with his aggressive goaltending and transitioning the ball. Denver battled back with two of its own with the last one coming with 2.9 to go in the quarter, as Bitter completed the hat trick.
In the fourth goals were scares with only two goals were scored in the final 15 minutes. Peet Poillon got Denver back within one at 2:11. Powell, however, helped the Nationals regain the two-goal cushion as his shot went off the stick of Schwartzman and into the net at 6:18 of the fourth for an 11-9 lead. The defenses locked down with neither team scoring the rest of the way. Cody Jamieson’s biggest play of the game came with 1:42 to play as he scooped up a ground ball after Bucktooth was denied.
Queener finished the game with three saves in the second half, while Rodgers made three in the first. Schwartzman turned away 10 shots in the loss.