NATIONALS ADD REINFORCEMENTS FOR BATTLE AGAINST CANNONS
5/10/12 12:00 AM
(May 10, 2012)… The Hamilton Nationals’ roster will be bolstered by the addition of eight players, as the Nats battle the Boston Cannons Saturday, May 12th. The Nationals head to Harvard Stadium for a 7:00 p.m. showdown with the defending champion Cannons.
After dropping its opener in Denver, Hamilton activated Brodie Merrill, Kevin Crowley, Geoff Snider, Jeremy Thompson, Dan Coates, Adam Jones, and rookies Kiel Matisz and Gerry Reilly. Coates, Jones, Matisz and Reilly are all expected to make their MLL debuts in Boston.
Matisz is coming off a career season at Robert Morris, recording career bests in goals, assists and points. The Stoney Creek, Ontario, native was named the 2012 NEC Player of the Year and NEC Offensive Player of the Year. The three-time All-NEC First Team selection was a 2012 Tewaaraton Award nominee and ended his season with 40 goals and 24 assists in 15 games. He set the single-season school record for points and posted the second most in goals and assists.
“He is a good player, dodger and shooter,” said Thorpe, who remembers first seeing Matisz play junior ball with the Burlington Chiefs. “I am excited to see him play and see what he has.”
Hamilton also adds Jones (Owen Sound), who enters the MLL after winning the National Lacrosse League’s Rookie of the Year Award for the 2012 season. The forward led all rookies with 76 points on 29 goals and 47 assists. Coates (St. Catharines) also finished his rookie NLL season with the Colorado Mammoth.
Reilly will make the transition from the college game to the MLL. He starred as a defensive midfielder for the Georgetown Hoyas. In 2012, he picked up 36 ground balls, while scoring two goals and dishing out three assists during his senior season. The Georgetown captain was a BIG EAST Second Team selection.
Merrill, Crowley and Thompson are back for another season. Merrill is in his fourth season with the Nationals and eighth in the MLL. He was named the Warrior Defensive Player of the Year and an All-MLL Team selection the past six seasons. The Orangeville native led the MLL with 77 ground balls, which marked the third time in his career he has accomplished that feat (2006, 2007). Merrill ranks second on the league’s all-time ground ball chart with (524), trailing only Paul Cantabene (538).
Snider is in his fourth season with the Nationals and seventh in the MLL. He ranks among the all-time leader in faceoff wins (807) and faceoff attempts (1,584). He was named to his second MLL All-Star Game.
Like Merrill and Snider, Crowley and Thompson return from their NLL teams. Crowley was second in rookie points in the NLL and finished second in Rookie of the Year votes to Jones. With the Nats in 2011, the Stony Brook product recorded 20 points in 10 games as a rookie. Thompson, who played at Syracuse, completed his rookie MLL season with 10 points (6+4) in seven games.
In related moves, the Nationals placed Brandon Spillett, Matt Chadderdon, Dan MacRae, MJ Kiekebelt and Tim Harder on the practice squad. The team also released Grant Krebs, Andrew Irving, Scott Kocis and Jack Dudley.
The Hamilton Nationals enter the weekend after dropping their season opener, 15-6, to the Denver Outlaws last Saturday. Jeff Zywicki led the Nationals with three points (1+2) in his return to the team after a two-year hiatus. Hamilton also got two points from Rhys Duch (0+2), Dan Deckelbaum (2+0) and Tom Compitello (2+0). Scott Rodgers and Brett Queener split time in goal for the Nationals. Despite giving up 14 goals, Thorpe put the effort into perspective with his team fielding a youthful lineup against the Outlaws.
“Scotty Rodgers played well and Brett Queener got out of his cage and got back to his old form,” said Thorpe. “Last year, he was banged up. He is a big part of our goaltending tandem.”
The Nationals will have to be at their best to beat the Cannons. Boston improved to 2-0 after defeating the Charlotte Hounds 20-12 last Saturday. The win extended the Cannons’ regular season winning streak to five games, dating back to last season. Goalie Jordan Burke is 2-0 this season with the second best goals-against average in the MLL at 7.50. On offense, Paul Rabil is tied for second in the MLL with 11 points (5+6) in two games. Ryan Boyle is first in the league with 10 assists and tied for second with 11 points. With Rabil and Boyle leading the way, the Cannons are the MLL’s highest-scoring team with 35 goals. Boston enters the game in a three-way tie for first place along with the Denver Outlaws and Chesapeake Bayhawks.
“We need to limit their runs and not give up a 7-0 run like we did against Denver,” said Thorpe. “They play well at home; we need to get off to a good start.”
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.