NATIONALS 'TREASURE' FIRST WIN; WALTERS NEW GOALS LEADER
6/2/12 12:00 AM
Walters becomes team's all-time goal-scoring leader
(June 2, 2012)… For the first time all season, the Hamilton Nationals had their full complement of players and it showed. The Nationals defeated the Charlotte Hounds 18-17 tonight at American Legion Memorial Stadium to earn their first victory of the season.
“Charlotte is a tough team and they gave us everything we could handle tonight,” said Nationals Head Coach Regy Thorpe. “I was really proud of the guys. They made a couple of runs, we answered back and we got great goaltending from Brett Queener.”
Hamilton played the game shorthanded as Cody Jamieson had travel issues and was unable to make it to Charlotte. His absence, however, allowed Thorpe to move Joe Walters from midfield to attack. Although last playing attack in 2006 at the University of Maryland, Walters scored four goals and assisted on four others in his first game of the season. The eight points tied a single-game team record. His last goal also moved him into first place on the team's all-time goal-scoring list.
“I really didn’t know what to expect. Sometimes it’s tough going from indoors to outdoors,” said Walters. “We had a great team win and the guys certainly helped me out tonight.”
Walters and Stephen Keogh were both back after playing for the 2012 NLL Champion Rochester Knighthawks. Keogh also had an impressive debut, scoring a career-high four goals. Garrett Billings chipped in four points (2+2) and Matt Dolente set a single-game team record with 23 faceoff wins. In goal, the Nationals were backstopped by a 21-save effort from Brett Queener.
Hamilton opened the game with an 8-1 lead and held a 13-9 advantage in the third quarter, only to have the Hounds’ grab their first lead of the game early in the fourth. It took back-to-back goals from Hamilton’s Casey Powell to secure the team’s first win in four tries. The goals were part of a 3-0 Nationals' run to end the contest.
Hamilton opened the game with five straight goals, which included three each from Walters and Keogh, as part of an 8-1 first quarter. The second, however, was a reversal of fortune as the Charlotte Hounds outscored Hamilton 7-1 in the second to trail 9-8 at half. Former National Jeremy Boltus led the way with one goal and two assists in the second quarter. Boltus finished the game with a five points (3+2). Stephen Berger also chipped in a goal and one assist in the second as part of a six-point night (3+1+2). The Hounds’ comeback was fueled by three man-up goals.
Hamilton moved in front 10-8 early in the third on a goal from defenseman Steven Waldeck at 1:21. After a goal by Justin Turri, David Earl (2+1) beat Adam Ghitelman with two rockets from the right-wing side just 50 seconds apart for a 12-9 advantage. Keogh then went behind the back at 10:38 for his career-high fourth goal and a 13-9 Hamilton lead. Charlotte, however, regrouped with a goal by Billy Bitter and a two-pointer from Berger to cut the deficit to 13-12.
Berger then tied the game to start the fourth on a bounce shot from the left-wing side at the 59-second mark. Jovan Miller helped the Hounds take their first lead of night at 3:26, 14-13. Brian Carroll followed with his third of the night at 4:02 for a 15-13 lead.
Billings finally ended Charlotte’s 6-0 run with a quick-stick goal to climb within 15-14. But just 56 seconds later, Miller notched his third of the night for a 16-14 Hounds’ lead. Walters helped the Nationals battle back as he cut the Charlotte lead to one with his fourth of the game and seventh point of the night at 8:42.
After Charlotte regained a two-goal lead, Kevin Crowley (1+2) and Powell answered for the Nationals to tie the game at 17. Powell then fired a shot from long range for an 18-17 Hamilton advantage with 2:50 to play.
“We will enjoy this win tonight and then focus on the Rattlers,” said Thorpe.
Hamilton will return home on Saturday, June 9th to host the Rochester Rattlers at 7:00 p.m. at McMaster University. For ticket information, contact the Nationals Ticket Office at (905) 768-2225.