Bayhawks Fly by Nationals; Cannons Win Fourth Straight

HAMILTON, ONTARIO Midfielders Ben Hunt and Matt Mackrides scored four points apiece as the Chesapeake Bayhawks blew out the Hamilton Nationals, 17-10, at Ron Joyce Stadium. Hunt's three goals included a 2-pointer while Mackrides contributed three goals and an assist. Midfielder Steven Brooks and attackman Drew Westervelt also notched hat tricks in the win.

Goalkeeper Kip Turner recorded 13 saves to anchor an impressive defensive effort for Chesapeake, which snapped a two-game losing streak and improved its record to 5-4. Faceoff specialist Adam Rand had a huge night, capturing 18 of 29 draws to help the Bayhawks control possession.

"When you are unselfish and share the ball, everyone gets involved and you have the type of balanced scoring we did tonight," Chesapeake head coach Dave Cottle said. "Matt Mackrides continues to be a sparkplug on offense while Ben Hunt has been practicing better and is beginning to play really well."

Midfielder Matt Abbott scored two goals and gobbled up five ground balls for Chesapeake, which broke open a close game with a strong second quarter onslaught. Midfielder Michael Kimmel and attackman John Grant Jr. both contributed two assists for the Bayhawks, who outshot the Nationals 57-37 and won the ground ball battle 37-27.

"I thought the difference between this game and our first meeting with Hamilton had to do with picking the ball up on the defensive end," Cottle said. "Last time, we got stops, but could not clear the ball out of our own zone, which gave them second chances. Tonight, we did a great job of getting the ball off the ground and running from defense to offense. We got some easy transition goals and that always helps."

The score was tied at three early in the second period when Chesapeake took total control. Westervelt scored a power play goal off a feed from Grant and that began a 7-0 run that gave the visitors a commanding 10-3 lead at halftime. Hunt scored two goals, one of which was a 2-pointer, during the decisive assault. Highlight of the night came when close defenseman Nicky Polanco scored a transition goal off an assist from short stick defensive midfielder Dan Burns.

Mackrides totaled two goals and an assist as the Bayhawks outscored the Nationals 6-3 in the third quarter to take their largest lead at 16-6. Defenseman Barney Ehrmann provided great man-to-man coverage and scooped six ground balls while long stick defensive midfielder Michael Simon was extremely active and garnered four grounders.

Cottle and defensive coordinator Tony Resch decided to play rookie Jesse Bernhardt on close defense and the former University of Maryland All-American limited Kevin Cunningham to a goal and an assist.

"Cunningham gave us trouble last time with his quickness. We thought that would be a good match-up for Jesse because he is so quick and so athletic," Cottle said. "Jesse rose to the challenge and did a great job."

Simon and Polanco combined to cover midfielder Kevin Crowley, who came into the game leading Major League Lacrosse in scoring (36 points). Crowley, who has averaged three goals per game, was held to just one by the tag team of Simon and Polanco.

"Our thought our defense was outstanding. Hamilton really didn't do much against us in six-on-six situations," Cottle said.

Chesapeake came into the night having lost four of its last five, but Cottle felt the team played much better in last weekend's heartbreaking overtime loss at Charlotte. This was the second of three straight road games for the Bayhawks and Cottle hopes the complete effort is something to build on.

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