By Max Jacobson | 5/16/12 12:00 PM
Watch & Follow: SportsTime Ohio (re-air 5/20 12am, 5/21 noon, 5/22 5am), TWC Rochester, TWC Syracuse, TWC Albany, TWC Buffalo, COX NO (5/21 noon), Brighthouse (5/12 12:30am), ESPN3, Live Blog
The Big Picture: The Ohio Machine will host the Rochester Rattlers on Saturday at 8 p.m. ET (7 p.m. CT). The Rattlers are currently 1-1 for the season and are coming off of a 12-8 victory over the Bayhawks last week in Chesapeake. The Machine are currently 0-2 for the season and are coming off of a difficult 18-15 loss to the expansion Charlotte Hounds. The Rattlers hope to fend off the expansion Machine who continue the search for their first win in franchise history.
Rochester Rattlers: Head Coach Tim Soudan credits the Rattlers first win to a defensive-minded approach. After holding the Bayhawks to just 8 goals last week, the Rattlers look to shut down the potent offense of the Machine.
Rattlers goalie, Mike Gabel filled in for John Galloway due to a delayed flight. He was named starter at the last minute and went on to earn Defensive Player of the Week. Gabel recorded 27 saves against the Hounds, the most by an MLL goalie this season. Coach Soudan insists that Galloway is ‘the guy in goal’ but added, “Gabel did a great job. This is a good problem to have. Whenever you have two guys pushing each other it just makes them better.” It should be interesting to see how this goalie dilemma plays out this weekend in Ohio.
Attack Ned Crotty returned to the Rattlers last week and provided a much needed spark on the offensive end. “Having him in there keeps the rest of the defense honest,” says Soudan. “A guy who can dodge like that and has such a strong presence in the crease is really tough to defend.”
Players to Watch: Ned Crottywas the MLL co-leader in points last year and continues this year’s campaign after scoring 3 goals in his debut last week. Also keep an eye on John Lade and Tom Montelli who combined for 8 groundballs in their strong defensive effort against the Bayhawks. In net, watch how Coach Soudan splits the time between his two talented goalkeepers, Mike Gabel and John Galloway.
Ohio Machine: The Machine are thrilled to finally come home and compete for their first victory in front of their fans. Head Coach Ted Garber says, “The guys are excited about the opportunity to get back home. Hopefully, we can get a win and build some momentum going forward.”
Machine attack, Chazz Woodson, looks to continue his incredible play after a 3 goal performance last week against the Hounds. His athleticism makes him a threat to score on each Machine possession and is going to be a handful for Rattlers defensemen. Woodson is joined on the offensive end by attack Connor Martin who Coach Garber says, “Has the ability to score in bunches and is a great team player.”
The Machine defense is talented and Coach Garber calls Kyle Hartzell, “The best defensive player in the league.” However, they have struggled to contain teams after allowing 41 goals through the team’s first 2 games. “We need to tighten some things up defensively, especially off the ball,” says Coach Garber.
Players to Watch: Chazz Woodsonis one of the most explosive offensive players in the league. Also be sure to keep an eye on Jim Connolly who has netted 4 goals through the first two games. On defense, watch for Kyle Hartzell, who even showed a flash of offense last week with an impressive 2-pointer against Charlotte.