The Ohio Machine took on the Denver Outlaws for its home opener on May 4 and suffered an upsetting loss. Among the starters were returning Machine players Chazz Woodson, Steele Stanwick, Greg Bice, Kyle Hartzell and Stefan Schroder. The Machine also welcomed new players Jeff Ledwick and J.J. Miller to the mix.
The Machine started strong in the first quarter and took the first lead of the game with a goal from Chazz Woodson. Denver responded with five straight goals within the first and second quarters to take a 5-1 lead with goals from Chris Bocklet, Jeremy Sieverts, Terry Kimener and Brendan Mundorf. The Machine tried to close the gap before halftime and scored three more goals before the end of the second quarter. MLL Rookie Jeff Ledwick scored his first MLL goal, along with Steele Stanwick and Jim Connolly’s first season goals. Denver led 5-4 going into halftime.
“I was happy I could just make something happen tonight,” said Ledwick. “We all made a couple of rookie mistakes and I had the first-game jitters, but I think we have the potential to take care of the ball better and get rid of those careless errors.”
Coming out of halftime, Denver fought hard to add to its one-goal lead. The Outlaws scored eight goals throughout the second half, challenging Machine goalie Stefan Schroder. Denver goalie, Jesse Schwartzman, also made it difficult for the Machine offense to score and was named Player of the Game. The Machine added on five more goals to the scoreboard with two goals from Eric O’Brien and another goal from Jeff Ledwick. O’Brien and Ledwick tied for a game-high of two goals.
The Machine offense started slipping in the second half and lost their momentum on Denver’s side of the field.
“I would give tonight’s performance a B minus,” said Coach Ted Garber. “The defense played best, but the offense only played well in spurts. It’s about creating opportunities, but we did not finish those opportunities. We had no shots; I’m always telling the guys, do not give their defense easy decisions and change your shooting planes on offense.”
The Machine started slipping within the last few minutes of the game and suffered from back-to-back goals from Denver’s Jeremy Boltus. The game ended with a 13-8 Denver victory, but the Machine is ready to get their first season win against Chesapeake next weekend.
“Denver had one game under their belt, we just had to get the rust off,” said Eric O’Brien. “Transitions are our game; the offense needs more time to click and our face-offs need work. The rust is off, we’ll be more comfortable and I see significant improvement.”
The Machine takes on the Bayhawks next week at Chesapeake on Saturday, May 11 at 7 p.m. EST.
Click here for final stats of the game.