Approaching the halfway mark of the Major League Lacrosse season, there is still plenty of time left for teams to rise and fall. New York hopes to begin their climb up the standings, but in order to do so, it has to start on Thursday night at Randall’s Island’s Ichan Stadium against the Hamilton Nationals. On the other side, the Nationals look to bounce back from their first loss of the season.
New York (2-4) has dropped their last two contests at home. The latest, a 21-8 defeat at the hands of the Chesapeake Bayhawks on June 6th, was not pretty. After a close first quarter, the defending champs took control of the game on both ends of the field. While the Lizards offense sputtered, the Bayhawks capitalized on their extra possessions. Despite a 15-save performance by goaltender Drew Adams, and Greg Gurenlian winning 18 of 21 face-offs, the Lizards have not looked like they’ve been able to mesh together.
The Lizards will need their big guns to step up. Max Seibald, Stephen Berger, Rob Pannell & crew must ignite an offense that sits at the bottom of the league. Some good news for New York as long stick midfielder Tim Henderson will make his season debut this week.
Meanwhile, Hamilton (5-1) was handed its first loss of the season at Denver 22-9 last week. Kevin Crowley led the Nationals in scoring with four goals, while rookie Garrett Thul buried three goals in his MLL debut.
Despite the loss, Hamilton sits firmly in second place behind the first place Outlaws. New York is in sixth place, two games behind fourth place Charlotte. While a loss for the Nationals would not be devastating, a Lizards defeat could distance themselves out of the playoff race.
The last time these two teams met, the match was decided in a late thriller. Crowley scored a two-point goal with 45 seconds left in the game to lift the Nationals to a 12-11 victory. New York was led by Matt Gibson who recorded two goals and three assists while Drew Adams played stellar in cage, stopping 14 shots he faced.