The Hamilton Nationals face their biggest challenge to date in the Chesapeake Bayhawks.
The Hamilton Nationals will face off against the defending Steinfeld Cup Champions, the Chesapeake Bayhawks. The Bayhawks started off the season at a perfect 3-0, as did Hamilton, but unlike Hamilton, they lost their last game, and at the hands of the Boston Cannons. So you have to great teams, one with an unbeaten record, and another with one close to that, this should be one of the greatest match ups this half of the MLL season.
Players To Watch:
Kevin Crowley is currently second in scoring in the MLL with 20 points, just behind Paul Rabil, and is one of the best middie's in the game. Crowley will definitely be the one to watch during this game, as he will be the leading scorer, and if the Bayhawks defense does shut him down, the Nats are in trouble. Another player to watch is goalie Brett Queener. Queener is proving to be one of the best goalies between the pipes this season. Queener was injured for a little bit during the season, but he's back and he's ready to dominate.
For Chesapeake, Ben Rubeor from Virginia is a star player, at least on the Bayhawks roster. Rubeor is an attackman and leads his team in scoring, with 15 points, which isn't a whole lot, but the Bayhakws never really score a whole lot of goals, they just play tight defense. You can tell this by their goals fielded so far, which is the second lowest in the league, and their goals allowed, which is the lowest in the league. However this can be a bad thing when you play against a team like Hamilton, that can easily score from the outside, as well as on the inside. Also John Grant Jr should have a breakout game in this one, Jr has had a slow start to the season, only scoring five goals, but I have the feeling he can do much better in this game.
Keys To Victory:
The key to victory for Hamilton is to get as many shots as possible on net. As they Bayhawks have a really great defense, Hamilton is going to be limited to outside shots, so make as many of them as you can on net, and they're bound to go in. Hamilton usually comes out strong in the first half, but has their lead slip later in the game, so play four full quarters of lacrosse if you don't want the game come down to a buzzer beater.
For Chesapeake, they need to play tight defense, and shut down Kevin Crowley. If you shut down Crowley, Hamilton will be severely hurt on the score board. They also need push Hamilton players to the outside when the Nats have the ball, a lot of these players on Hamilton are box players, and aren't necessarily the greatest when it comes to shooting from the outside, they can do it, but not as good as up close.
Overall I think it's going to be a low scoring, tight game. Both teams have great defense's, and stellar goalies. That being sad, I think this will be a 9-8 OT win for Hamilton.