NATIONALS EDGED BY MACHINE
7/13/12 7:26 PM
(July 13, 2012)… The Hamilton Nationals’ final shot was smothered by Ohio Machine goalie Brian Phipps in a 13-12 loss tonight at Ron Joyce Stadium at McMaster University. It was the second one-goal loss in past four games for the Nats.
Ohio used an 18-save performance from Phipps, who was awarded the Game MVP. Garrett Billings led Hamilton with three goals and one assist, while Cody Jamieson (2+1), Kevin Crowley (2+1), Stephen Keogh (2+1) and David Earl (1+2) all finished with three points.
The Nationals pulled within one goal on Billings’ third goal of the game. He finished with a season-high three goals. Hamilton had a chance to tie the game, but Joe Walters’ low shot was stopped by Phipps with 16 seconds to play.
Billings was the catalyst on offense and carried the team into the lead in the third quarter. He had a hand in three straight Hamilton goals to vault the Nationals in front 10-9. His pass to Jamieson led to Crowley’s goal with 19 seconds left in the first half. He then scored off a broken play at 5:08 of the third quarter to tie the contest at nine and connected at 8:30 for a one-goal lead.
Yet, Ohio pulled even off an errant pass that hit an empty net 11 seconds later. Eric O’Brien was credited with his second goal of the game. Crowley restored the Hamilton lead after splitting the defense and scoring at 9:43 for an 11-10 advantage.
The Machine, who had won one once in its first eight games, found some composure and rallied for two straight goals to take a 12-11 advantage after three. Former National Kiel Matisz tied the contest at 11 with a man-up goal at 12:23. Ohio then grabbed the lead, 12-11, in the final minute of the third as Connolly scored off a back-door cut at 14:12. The Machine made it a 3-0 run on Stanwick’s second of the game at 4:56 of the fourth quarter. His behind-the-back goal made it 13-11 Ohio. Billings scored on the man-up to make it 13-12.
The Machine led the road game 4-2 after the first quarter as they erased a 2-1 deficit after goals by Earl and Joe Resetarits. In the second, Jamieson scored back-to-back goals from Rhys Duch to tie the game at four. But Ohio answered the Hamilton run with four straight points. Defenseman Kyle Hartzell scored his seventh two-pointer of the season to give Ohio a 6-4 lead at 4:52. Rookie Steele Stanwick and Matt Casey followed for an 8-4 Machine lead. Chazz Woodson assisted both goals as part of a four-assist night. Walters got Hamilton back in the game with his 11th goal of the season off a bounce shot at 11:01. Stephen Keogh then scored on a low shot at 13:20 to make it 8-6.
Keogh tacked on a high-light reel goal for his second of the night as he shot the ball between his legs with less than a minute to play to make it 8-7. That was the first of three goals in the final minute of the second quarter. O’Brien took the ensuing faceoff into Hamilton territory and scored a shorthanded goal at 14:11. Hamilton got that goal back 30 seconds later on a rocket by Crowley. Jamieson assisted on the man-up goal to trim the deficit to 9-8.
The game was the first of a home-and-home series with the expansion Ohio. Hamilton (2-7) will travel to Columbus to battle the Machine (2-7) at 7:00 p.m. Saturday night. The contest will be carried live on ESPN3.