CROWLEY HELPS NATS CLINCH PLAYOFF BERTH
8/13/11 7:00 PM
(Hempstead, NY, August 13)… Kevin Crowley still has to clean out his apartment at Stony Brook University for his summer move to western Canada. On Saturday, he packed two more things to take back to New Westminster, BC: a win and a playoff berth.
Crowley scored three goals in his first game near his alma mater in a 14-8 win at Shuart Stadium. Crowley played four seasons at Stony Brook, which is located on the north shore of Long Island. He finished his career as the college’s all-time leader in points. He was glad to play well in front of friends and former classmates.
Hamilton used a balanced attack as eight players scored goals and four players recorded multiple-goal efforts. Rookie David Earl tied his season high with four points (3+1). Joe Walters and Cody Jamieson both recorded two goals and one assist, while Jordan Hall collected three points as well with one goal and two assists.
With the victory, Hamilton secured the fourth and final playoff spot for the 2011 Sports Authority Major League Lacrosse Championship Weekend, which is set for Saturday, August 27th and Sunday, August 28th. Hamilton (7-5) will face the Denver Outlaws (7-5) in the semifinals. The Boston Cannons will battle the defending champion Chesapeake Bayhawks in the other semifinal. The MLL Championship Game will be played Sunday at 3:00 p.m. All three games will be played at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium.
Hamilton tied its regular season record with seven wins and extended its franchise-record road-game winning streak to five games. It’s the second playoff berth for the Nationals. In 2009, the Nats won a title in their first season, while stationed in Toronto. Long Island finished the season with a 5-7 record.
The Nationals opened the game with a 5-0 run to take a 5-1 lead after the first quarter. Walters opened the contest just 39 seconds into the game with an assist from Hall for a 1-0 lead. Jamieson made it 2-0 after catching a dart from Brodie Merrill and one-timing a shot past Drew Adams at 4:18. Earl and Hall scored to give Hamilton a 4-0 lead with 2:34 to play in the first. Walters then picked up his second point of the game with a feed to Jeremy Thompson with less than two minutes to play in the first. Two Lizards veterans hooked up to end the Hamilton run, as Tim Goettelmann scored from Nicky Polanco at 13:36.
In the second quarter, Crowley netted two of his three goals to give him seven goals and two assists against the Lizards this season. Crowley, who was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2011 draft, struck first at 6:27 to give Hamilton a 6-2 lead. The Nationals regained their five-goal lead with Earl’s second of the night at 7:25. The Lizards responded with two straight goals with tallies from Stephen Peyser and Stephen Berger. Donny Moss, however, made it 8-4 at 11:38 with Earl collecting his third point. Crowley followed with his second of the ballgame with an assist from Casey Powell for a 9-4 advantage.
In the second half, Hamilton broke open the game with three goals. Meanwhile, Brett Queener took over in goal from Long Island native Scott Rodgers and picked up where he left off. The duo combined to hold Long Island scoreless for 18:27. Rodgers finished the contest with seven saves to set the team single-season saves mark (106). Queener finished the game with 10 saves in two quarters of play.
Offensively, Walters opened the third quarter with his second of the night at 2:13 for a 10-4 lead. Crowley’s best goal of the game was his third, coming at 6:52 as he caught and shot with his right hand and bounced it past Adams for an 11-4 victory. Hamilton used some more impressive stick work to produce its 12th goal as Jamieson fired it home off a behind-the-back feed from Hall. Ryan Young ended the Lizards’ scoreless drought of 18:27 with a goal at 12:07.
Earl opened the fourth with his third of the game at 3:28 to increase the lead to 13-5. Matt Danowski kept his team in the game with a two-pointer at 6:11. He finished the game with a two-pointer and two assists. Goettelmann (2+0) trimmed the Hamilton lead to five with a marker at 8:06 to make it 13-8. Two long poles connected to give the Nationals a little breathing room as Merrill scored off a flip from Steven Waldeck at 9:24. Merrill ended the season as the league’s offensive leader among defensemen with 17 points (4+1+12). He also led the MLL with 77 ground balls.