Denver Crushes Hamilton in Battle of Unbeatens
from staff reports
DENVER — The Denver Outlaws remain the only undefeated team in Major League Lacrosse after a 22-9 victory over the Hamilton Nationals at Sports Authority Field at Mile High in Denver, Colo., Saturday night.
Brendan Mundorf, Eric Law, Drew Snider and Zack Greer each notched four goals in Denver's win. Mundorf, Snider and Greer also added three, two and one assists, respectively.
"We've been pretty consistent," Denver coach Jim Stagnitta said. "It was a big game. [The team] prepared hard the night before the game. These guys are pretty focused. They're on a mission. They want to get back to that championship game, and they want to bring a championship back here.
"Every game is important to them, and certainly winning six in a row is a big accomplishment at this point, and our goal is to get to nine as quickly as we can and solidify ourselves in the playoffs."
The Outlaws took the early lead with a couple of early goals for Greer and Mundorf. Kevin Crowley scored the lone Hamilton goal in the first quarter in a man-up situation. Crowley's goal from Cody Jamieson counted this game as his 21st consecutive game with a point. Snider scored his first of the game to close the quarter out 5-1 in favor of Denver.
The second quarter was the closest for the teams. The Nationals opened up the scoring 21 seconds into the period with a Josh Hawkins goal from Matt Dolente. The Outlaws responded with goals from Snider and Mundorf within a minute of each other. Powerplay goals from Bocklet and Snider pushed Denver out to a 9-2 lead before a response from Joe Walters with just under seven minutes to play in the half. Greer notched another goal, but Crowley and Garrett Thul, in his first MLL appearance, each scored with under a minute to go in the half to cut the Hamilton deficit to five.
Eric Law, in his rookie debut and MVP performance, scored his first of four goals off an assist from Matt Bocklet 18 seconds into the third quarter while Denver was two men down.
"It's fun," Law said after his MLL debut. "I really enjoy the game. It's really fast-paced, and I love the nonstop up-and-down. As an offensive player, I can't help but love it."
Goals from Crowley and Thul could not overcome the Denver onslaught. Jeremy Boltus and Mundorf each grabbed a goal, and two scores from Chris Bocklet and three more from Law extended Denver's lead to 18-7 after three quarters.
Hamilton scored the first and final goals of the fourth quarter with unassisted efforts from Thul and Crowley. The Outlaws notched four more in the final frame with goals from Terry Kimener, Justin Turri, Greer and Snider to reach the final score of 22-9.
Denver dominated possession with Anthony Kelly winning 20 faceoffs. Jesse Schwartzman and Charlie Ciprianocombined for 14 saves for the Outlaws. Brett Queener made 10 saves for the Nationals before Brent Herbst entered the contest for the fourth quarter.
"We're just kind of firing on all cylinders right now," Kelly said. "Our offense is clicking and playing well together and taking advantage of man-up opportunities. Our defense is locking down. Anytime we hold a team under 10 is awesome. Defense is doing their job, offense is doing their job, it's a fun time to be playing around."
Hamilton stays on the road as it visits the New York Lizards (2-4) on Thursday, June 13 in Randall's Island, N.Y. The contest will be live on ESPN3. Denver travels to Annapolis, Md., on Saturday, June 15, to face the 4-2 Bayhawks in Annapolis, Md., in a matchup that will be televised on CBS Sports Network.