Nats handle thunder, lightning but can’t weather the Hounds

The Hamilton Nationals weathered thunder and lightning, and a 7-1 deficit, but fell just short Saturday at Ron Joyce Stadium as they were beaten 11-9 by the Charlotte Hounds in Major League Lacrosse.

Hamilton, which fell 3-10 on the year, was powered by Joe Walters five-assist night and a three-goal performance from Stephen Keogh. In the first half, the Nationals had three single-season records fall, courtesy of Walters, Matt Dolente and Brodie Merrill. Walters assisted on Jamieson’s marker in the first to set a single-season assist record of 21, breaking his mark set in 2011. After Berger made it 2-1 at 5:58, Dolente won the ensuing faceoff to set single-season faceoff wins record with 196. Merrill then set the team’s single-season record of 88 with 4:52 to play in the first half.

Charlotte (4-9) moved into sole possession of sixth place with the victory and split the season series with the Nationals. Adam Ghitelman was named the Game MVP in an 18-save effort, while Stephen Berger led the Hounds with two goals and one assist.

Charlotte took a huge lead in the first period, scoring the last four goals of the quarter. Charlotte extended its lead to 7-1 when Jovan Miller and Berger scored in the second. Keogh finally ended Hamilton’s scoring drought, which lasted over 20 minutes. His goal at 3:55 of the third was the first Nationals’ tally since Cody Jamieson’s goal at 3:14 of the first tied the game at one.

But Hamilton kept coming back and got a fortuitous deflection off a pass from David Earl with 17 seconds left in the second to make it 7-5. The two-pointer was on the man-up and followed a man-up tally by Rhys Duch. Keogh started the comeback with a goal at 8:53. When Keogh whipped a shot past Adam Ghitelman at 3:55 of the third it was 7-6.

After a Charlotte goal, Roman Lao-Gosney answered with his first pro goal at 12:24 to cut the deficit back down to one at 8-7.

In the fourth, however, Kyle Wimer went to work and scored back-to-back goals to put Charlotte in front 10-7. Dolente answered off a faceoff win at 7:15 to make it 10-8, but Rickey Pages’ goal helped Charlotte retake a three-goal lead. Hamilton pulled back within two on Keogh’s third of the contest, but failed on two two-point chances.

Hamilton ends its 2012 season when it hosts the Long Island Lizards on Saturday, Aug. 11 at 7 p.m.