Hamilton Downs Lizards for Final Playoff Spot
from press release
HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. - Rookie midfielder David Earl
scored three goals and added an assist as the Hamilton Nationals
(7-5) secured the final berth for the 2011 Sports Authority Major
League Lacrosse Championship Weekend with a 14-8 victory over the
Long Island Lizards (5-7) at James M. Shuart Stadium on Saturday
With the win, the Nationals will make their second playoff appearance in the last three years and will face second-seeded Denver in the second semi-final at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium on Saturday, August 27 at 3 p.m.
Led by a goal and an assist from midfielder Jordan Hall, the Nationals jumped out to a 5-0 lead in the opening 13 minutes of the first quarter. However, the Lizards trimmed the deficit to 5-2 before Hamilton used goals from Earl and rookie midfielder Kevin Crowley to increase their advantage to 7-2 with 7:35 left in the first half.
After midfielders Stephen Peyser and Stephen Berger scored back-to-back goals in a two-minute span for the Lizards, the Nationals used a pair of goals in the final four minutes to take a 9-4 lead into the intermission.
With three straight goals in the first 10 minutes of the second half, the Nationals upped their lead to 12-4 as attackman Cody Jamieson scored a goal with an assist during the spurt. With 2:53 left in the period, rookie attackman Ryan Young ended the Nationals' five-goal run with an unassisted marker.
After Earl opened the fourth quarter by scoring an unassisted goal, the Lizards trimmed the deficit to 13-8 with a pair of goals, including a two-point marker from attackman Matt Danowski with 6:54 left.
But, defenseman Brodie Merrill sealed the victory by scoring his fourth goal of the season with 5:36 remaining, upping the Nationals' cushion to 14-8.
Earl earned Bud Light Player of the Game honors after recording his third "hat trick" of the season while matching his season high with four points. Meanwhile, Crowley added three goals for the Nationals, who were outshot by a 40-36 margin.
Danowski scored a two-point goal with two assists to lead the Lizards in a losing effort while attackman Tim Goettelmann contributed a pair of goals. Goalkeeper Drew Adams made 11 saves for the Lizards, who ended the regular season by losing their last two games.