The Ohio Machine led wire to wire and all but dimmed the Boston Cannons playoff hopes with a 16-12 win at Harvard Stadium on Saturday in the Youtube MLL Game of the Week.
The Machine got a great performance out of backup goalie and Player of the Game Scott Rodgers, who was filling in for Brian Phipps. He gave up only 11 goals, and made 22 stops in a dominating performance.
The defense was great in front of Rodgers as Kyle Hartzell and Greg Bice combined with the rest of the defense to keep the Boston shooters at bay, and shut out MLL points leader, Paul Rabil.
The loss drops the Cannons to 5-8, and must hope for a Charlotte Hounds loss later this evening if they want to remain in playoff contention.
The Machine relished the role of spoiler from the opening whistle, as the 2-11 squad burst out of the gates to score the first four goals of the game. Kiel Matisz scored the game’s first goal before faceoff man Eric O’Brien picked up the ensuing faceoff and took it all the way to the cage for the score. Jim Connolly and Steele Stanwick scored two more goals to push the Machine lead to 4-0 and force Boston coach John Tucker into calling a timeout.
Initially, the Cannons responded well to the timeout as Matt Poskay and Stephen Berger scored two consecutive goals out of the break. But Ohio responded with a three-goal run to push the lead to 7-2 at the close of the first quarter. Logan Schuss assisted on man up goals to Matisz and fellow rookie Marcus Holman before O’Brien scored a goal identical to his first with only four seconds left in the opening frame.
The second quarter opened much like the first, as Matisz opened the scoring to complete a first half hat trick before Logan Schuss scored consecutive goals to make it a 10-2 game.
Boston was able to get two goals back before the end of the half as Cameron Flint had a pair of assists to Will Manny and Kevin Buchanan to bring the score to 10-4 at the close of the half.
The third quarter got off to a slower start, as it was clear that the Machine was content to sit on their lead and run chunks of time of the clock with long, patient possessions.
Finally, Poskay found the back of the net on a man up possession six minutes into the quarter after a feed from Manny found him alone on the crease with just Rodgers to beat. Manny then found the net for his second goal of the game, and the Cannons had quietly made it a game again, with the score at 10-6.
But just when it looked like Boston may have seized the momentum, Ohio’s Jake Bernhardt ripped a shot from just inside the two point line that beat Boston goalie Jordan Burke as the shot clock was about to expire.
The Cannons responded with a quick three point run. First, Buchanan caught a feed from Ryan Boyle and ripped a two point goal past Rodgers. Two minutes later, Mike Stone scored his first goal of the game, to bring the score to 12-9 at the end of the third quarter.
But just like they had all game, the Machine answered with a bang to start the final quarter. Bernhardt stepped into a feed and ripped a 12-yard shot past Burke before Schuss did the same for his fourth goal of the game. Holman assisted on both goals.
Bernhardt then completed his hat trick after receiving a pass from Stanwick on a secondary break and tickling the twine once again to push the Machine advantage to 15-9.
Once more, when it looked like Ohio was going to run away with the game, Boston went on a 3-0 run in three minutes that forced Ohio coach Bear Davis into calling a timeout to stop the bleeding. Stephen Berger scored the first two, beating Rodgers with low-to-low shots on both goals. Manny capped off the run with his third goal of the night while fellow rookie Flint recorded his third assist.
The timeout worked, and seemed to settle Ohio down as they made a few key defensive stops before Chase Carraro put the final nail in the coffin to push the lead back to 16-12 with just under two minutes to play.
Both teams suit up for the last time in regular season on Saturday, August 10, at 7 p.m. in ESPN3 games. Boston closes the season at home as the Rochester Rattlers visit Harvard Stadium while the Ohio Machine head to New York to visit the New York Lizards.
-16 is the highest point total for the Machine all season, and they did it with a balanced effort. Three players (Logan Shcuss, Kiel Matisz, Jake Bernhardt) had hat tricks.
-This marks only the second time that Rabil has been shut out this season. The first came in week 7 in a 15-13 win over the Charlotte Hounds.
-The game marked the first time since May 23 that Rodgers had started a game. Ohio lost that contest 15-8.
-Ohio’s 16 goals is the first time since week 14 of last season that Ohio has scored that many goals. That game was also against the Cannons, however, Boston scored 18 that night to pull out the win.