NATIONALS HIT THE ROAD TO OPEN 2012 SEASON
5/3/12 12:00 AM
Season Opener: The Hamilton Nationals will open the 2012 season against the Denver Outlaws on Saturday, May 5th at INVESCO Field at Mile High. The 9:00 p.m. contest will be featured on ESPN3.
Head-to-Head: Last season, the Nats and Outlaws finished in a tie for second place with 7-5 records, but Hamilton knocked off Denver 11-9 to advance to the MLL title game. In the Finals, the Nationals fell one goal shy to the Boston Cannons, 10-9.
Scouting the Nationals: Last season, the Nationals won six of their last eight games to advance to the 2011 playoffs. Joe Walters led the offense with 39 points (18+1+20) and finished fifth in the MLL in points and second among league midfielders. His 20 assists were a single-season franchise record. Walters ended the 2011 regular season as the Nationals’ all-time leader in assists (37) and points (81). He ranks second in goals with 41. Goalie Scott Rodgers was third in the MLL with an 11.46 goals-against average and set a single-season team record with 106 saves this season.
New Nats: Hamilton’s opening day roster has 13 new players including Matt Chadderdon (Le Moyne), Tom Compitello (Stony Brook), Dan Deckelbaum (Delaware), Rhys Duch (Stony Brook), Jack Dudley (Cornell), Andrew Irving (Notre Dame), M.J. Kiekebelt (RIT), Scott Kocis (Georgetown), Bob Snider (Bellarmine), Brandon Spillett (Le Moyne), Nick O’Hara (Duke), Julian Watts (Hofstra) and Jeff Zywicki (UMass).
Going from indoors to outdoors: Four members of the Nationals were playing in the National Lacrosse League last week. Zywicki, Duch, Snider and Brett Bucktooth played for the Washington Nationals. The Nationals have 13 players competing in the NLL Champion’s Cup Playoffs, including 2011 team point leaders Joe Walters (39) and Cody Jamieson (26), and six-time MLL Defensive Player of the Year Brodie Merrill.
Welcome Back: Zywicki and O’Hara return to the Nationals for the first time since 2009, when they helped the then Toronto-based team win the MLL title. The duo also won the championship in 2008 with the Rochester Rattlers.
Denver Notes: The Outlaws opened the 2012 season with a 21-12 season-opening victory over the expansion Charlotte Hounds on April 28th. Midfielder Jeremy Sieverts was named the MLL Offensive Player of the Week for Week 1 as he scored four goals, including a pair of two-point markers, and added an assist. Player of the Game Peet Poillon also had a big night with four goals, including a two-pointer, and two assists. Terry Kimener and Ryan Hoff each added three goals to give Denver four players with hat tricks. Jesse Schwartzman made nine saves to earn the victory. The win marked the first for new Head Coach Jim Stagnitta in his Denver debut.
Next Game: The Nationals next contest features a rematch of the MLL Finals with Hamilton playing the Boston Cannons at Harvard Stadium on Saturday, May 12th at 7:00 p.m.
Home Opener: Hamilton makes its home debut on Friday, May 18th with an 11:00 a.m. contest against the Chesapeake Bayhawks at Ron Joyce Stadium at McMaster University. For ticket information, contact the Nationals Ticket Office at (905) 768-2225.