The Charlotte Hounds on Friday afternoon dropped a close game to the Hamilton Nationals, falling 16-15 in overtime at Ron Joyce Stadium in Hamilton, Ontario. Matt Dolente of the Nationals was named player of the game for tallying the game-winning goal.
The Nationals opened the contest with a three goal run, capped by Kevin Crowley’s rip to the top corner 4:52 into the game. But Tim Fallon won the ensuing faceoff and streaked straight to the cage to get the Hounds on the board. The Nationals responded with back-to-back goals from Joe Walters and Jeremy Thompson to extend their lead to 5-1 with just under six minutes to play in the quarter. But Eric Lusby started to pull momentum in the Hounds’ favor, closing out the quarter with an outside goal to cut the Nationals lead to 5-2.
Brett Schmidt kept it rolling for the Hounds at the start of the second with a transition goal to pull the Hounds within two, 5-3. The Nationals responded with a goal from Stephen Keogh to push the lead back to three, 6-3, but it would be the last goal they would score for over 10 minutes as the Hounds put together a six-goal run. Jovan Miller got it started by scoring in transition, and that was followed by Shayne Jackson’s first career MLL goal to pull the Hounds within one, 6-5. Lusby tallied the game-tying goal, his second of the game, and Josh Amidon gave the Hounds their first lead, 7-6, off a rip from just inside the 2-point line. Miller scored his second of the game and Peet Poillon pushed the Hounds lead to three, 9-6, with 6:34 to play in the half. Roy Lang finally stopped the bleeding for the Nationals, scoring his second of the game on a jump shot. Keogh followed that up with his second of the game to make it a one goal contest, 9-8 in favor of the Hounds, heading in to the half.
Momentum stayed with the Nationals to start the third, as they racked up three more goals from Walters, Keogh and Crowley to regain an 11-9 advantage with 4:27 remaining in the quarter. Poillon stopped the run with his second of the game to get the Hounds back within one, 11-10, but Walters responded with his third of the game to close the quarter with the Nationals leading 12-10.
Fallon won the opening faceoff of the fourth quarter, which set up Hounds rookie Mike Sawyer for his first career MLL goal to the cut the Nationals’ lead to one, 12-11. But the Nationals scored another two straight, to push their advantage to 14-11 with 7:23 to play in the game. The Nationals got the ball back again, but Keogh was called offsides, giving the Hounds their first power-play opportunity of the day. Poillon took advantage of the man-up, ripping a 2-point goal to pull the Hounds back within one, 14-13. However Keogh made up for his mistake with his fourth goal of the game, to reclaim the two-goal lead for the Nationals, 15-13, with 4:22 left in the game. The Hounds rallied though, as Sawyer dished to Miller on the doorstep to cut the Nationals lead to one with 3:16 remaining in the game. Casey Cittadino then scored his first goal as a Hound to tie the game at 15. The Nationals got the ball back, but goalie Adam Ghitelman came up with a big save on Crowley to force overtime.
The Hounds’ momentum and the overtime period were short lived though, as Dolente won the opening faceoff for the Nationals and took it to the cage himself to seal the victory, 16-15. The Nationals improve to 3-0 on the season, while the Hounds fall to 1-3. The MLL is off Memorial Weekend, so the Hounds will be back in action again on May 31 when they travel to New York to face the Lizards (1-2) in a Friday night match up.