By Steve Coulter | 5/14/11 12:00 AM
The Denver Outlaws (1-0) opened the 2011 season in front of a home crowd of 9,993, defeating the Hamilton Nationals (0-1), 18-10, at a rain-soaked INVESCO Field at Mile High.
The Outlaws had four players finish with hat tricks, led by 10 points from attackman Brendan Mundorf, who finished the night with his 28th career hat trick and set a new Outlaws single-game record with 10 points.
Mundorf finished the night with six goals and four assists, and scored multiple points in each quarter. He earned Bud Light MVP honors following his fourth consecutive opening-game hat trick.
The Outlaws were also boosted by newly acquired midfielder Peet Poillon—who also finished the night with a hat trick—just hours after meeting his teammates for the first time since being acquired via trade earlier in the week.
Attackmen Drew Westervelt and Athan Iannucci also joined the hat trick club, and all of Iannucci’s goals came in the second half as the Outlaws exploded. Denver outscored the Nationals 12-5 in the second frame, including an 8-1 advantage in the third quarter .
Goalie Jesse Schwartzman backstopped a solid defensive effort and scooped up a team-high five ground balls and saved 13-of-21 shots on goal (.619 pct.) in the winning effort.
“It was a good team effort,” Head Coach Tom Slate said. “It was great to see these guys gel as a team in their first game.”
The Outlaws started the season on the right foot, scoring 62 seconds into the game on a Mundorf shot that slipped past Hamilton goalie Scott Rodgers.
Denver continued its first quarter surge moments later when Poillon scored to put the Outlaws up 2-0. Two minutes later, Denver struck again when Westervelt buried the ball in the back of the net off an assist from attacker Brian Langtry.
Hamilton earned possession finally, when Geoff Snider won a crucial faceoff, which allowed the Nationals to get on the board.
Mundorf completed his hat trick before the end of the first quarter. He scored twice more, with his third goal coming with only 10 seconds remaining on the clock.
With a 5-3 lead heading into the second quarter, the Outlaws couldn’t hold off a Nationals comeback as Jarrett Davis scored early in the quarter to make it 5-4 and added a second goal with 1:46 left to play in the first half. He finished with the Nationals’ only hat trick.
Mundorf kept the Outlaws afloat in the second quarter though, notching his fourth goal of the game, which gave Denver a 6-5 lead heading into halftime.
In the second half, the Outlaws pulled away from the visitors when Langtry scored on an assist from Mundorf to put Denver up 7-5 with 11 minutes to play in the third.
One minute later, Mundorf found Poillon on a nice feed, which gave the Outlaws a three goal-lead.
Snider scored for the Nationals with 8:32 to play to make it 8-6, but Denver’s offense could not be stopped.
Will Dalton won the draw and roared down the field, bouncing a shot past Rodgers to make the score 9-6. Then, Poillon found the back of the net for the third time in the game to put Denver up 10-6.
Westervelt added his second goal on an assist from Langtry with 3:34 to play in the third quarter. Langtry finished the game with three assists.
The Outlaws weren’t done in the third quarter, as Iannucci scored seconds later.
Mundorf netted his fifth goal with 2:31 remaining on the clock, continuing the rout.
Westervelt completed his hat trick before the quarter came to an end, extending the Outlaws’ lead to 14-6 with 1:33 remaining in the quarter.
Denver outscored Hamilton 8-1 in the third quarter, which proved to be the difference in the game. The eight goals set a new Outlaws record for most goals scored in an opening-game third quarter.
As the rain poured down from above, the Outlaws poured on the goals in the final frame. Iannucci scored a two-point goal with 11:02 remaining in the game on an assist from Mundorf.
Mundorf continued to his spectacular season debut, scoring once again to put the Outlaws up 17-6.
After three goals from the Nationals, Mundorf and Iannucci teamed up once again, as Iannucci became the fourth Outlaw to hit the three-goal plateau.
Next week, the Outlaws travel east to take on the Boston Cannons. Last season, the Cannons and the Outlaws finished tied atop the MLL standings with matching 8-4 records.
The game will be played on Saturday at 5 p.m. MST.
Postgame quotes from Outlaws Head Coach Tom Slate:
On winning his first game as a head coach with the Denver Outlaws
“It was a good team effort. I’m glad that we got this with the assistant coaches and whole the organization—our guys put a lot of work into it. It was great to see these guys gel as a team in their first game.”
On the fans supporting the team despite heavy rain throughout the game
“It’s huge. The fans were very into it and they are passionate about it. We are going to enjoy this tonight and tomorrow and then on Monday it will be about Boston next week. They are a great team and that is just how this league is. We have to take it one game at a time but we’ll enjoy this right now.
On the record-setting performance by attackman Brendan Mundorf
“Enough said (by his stats). Everybody knows about him and he is one of the best. The great thing about him is that it does not matter if it is him, as long as the team is winning. It just so happens, tonight was his night.