The Hounds (1-4) lost their second straight game, falling 18-17 to the Nationals (1-3) in front of a record crowd of 6,843 at American Legion Memorial Stadium in Charlotte. Joe Walters was named Bud Light Player of the Game for his eight point performance of four goals and four assists. It was Walters first MLL appearance this season and the first win for the Nationals team.
The Nationals took advantage early of rookie goaltender Mark Manos, who was making his first start for the Hounds, scoring five straight goals in the first seven minutes of the game, including two from midfielder Stephen Keogh. Jeremy Boltus got the Hounds on the board at 9:41, but the Nationals scored another three straight, including two from Walters, to end the quarter with an 8-1 lead.
Manos was replaced in net by Adam Ghitelman at the start of the second quarter and it seemed to be the spark the Hounds needed. With a man-up opportunity two minutes in, Brian Carroll beat Nationals goalkeeper Brett Queener to start the Charlotte comeback. Carroll’s goal was followed by another from Boltus and then Stephen Berger on the dive to bring the game to 8-4. The Nationals only goal of the quarter was scored by Garrett Billings at 6:12 to make the game 9-4.
A holding call on Brodie Merrill would give the Hounds the man-up advantage, and Matt Danowski ripped a 2-point goal past Queener to close the gap to 9-6 Nationals. Queener left the game for two minutes and was replaced by Scott Rodgers, who in that time allowed two more Hounds goals, one on power-play from Carroll and the other even-strength from Jovan Miller. The half ended with the Nationals holding on to the 9-8 advantage.
The teams traded goals at the start of the third, with Hounds rookie Justin Turri getting the first goal of his MLL career to keep the game within one. But the Nationals’ David Earl scored back-to-back and Keogh added his fourth of the game to go back up 13-9. The Hounds would close out the quarter with a goal from Billy Bitter and their second 2-pointer of the night from Berger on the man up to end the quarter down 13-12.
Berger kept it going and scored his third of the game less than a minute into the fourth quarter to give the Hounds their first tie of the game at 13-13. Two more goals followed from Miller and Carroll and the Hounds went up 15-13 with 11 minutes left in the game. The teams traded goals bringing the score to a 17-15 Hounds advantage with less than five minutes to go before the Nationals tallied three straight, including back-to-backs from Casey Powell to win the game 18-17.
The Hounds travel to Annapolis June 9 to face the Chesapeake Bayhawks (3-1) at Navy Marine Corps Memorial Stadium. It will be only their second road game of the season.