By Paul Ryan | 4/25/14 10:00 AM
Ohio Machine at Charlotte Hounds
Saturday, April 26 – 7:00 p.m. (EST) – American Legion Memorial Stadium
WATCH: ESPN3.com, Prime Ticket, FS Midwest, FS Southwest, FOX South, MSG+, TWC Wisconsin, TWC New York
The Charlotte Hounds host the Ohio Machine in one of two games on Saturday night to kick off 2014 Faceoff Weekend.
Last time out:
Charlotte: The Hounds lost in the MLL Championship Game to the Chesapeake Bayhawks, 10-9. Ryan Young led the Hounds offense with four goals while netminder Adam Ghitelman stopped nine of 19 shots.
Ohio: The team fell in their final game of the regular season to the New York Lizards, 14-11. Midfielder Kiel Matisz recorded a hat trick while eight Machine players in total found the back of the net.
Faceoffs, Faceoffs, Faceoffs: Both teams struggled during the regular season last year at the faceoff ‘X’. Tim Fallon took most of the draws for Charlotte, winning just over 45%, while Ohio’s Eric O’Brien won just 41.5% of his. Charlotte tried to address the need by drafting Duke faceoff guru Brendan Fowler, but he won’t be available until late May should he choose to play.
Even Strength: These two teams were fairly similar last season in terms of power play and penalty killing. Ohio scored on 1/3 of their extra man opportunities while Charlotte converted on 1/4. The teams had nearly identical penalty kills, with both squads ending the year at 67%. Games like this are won and lost on special teams.
New Faces: Nearly every team directly benefitted from the Adrenaline/LXM and MLL Partnership, but the Machine certainly benefitted the most. Getting their top pick from the 2013 draft in Peter Baum was big, but winning the Kyle Harrison sweepstakes was even bigger. This Ohio attack will be fun to watch.
Players to Watch:
Charlotte: Mike Sawyer is going to be one of the key trigger men for the Hounds this year, as he finished last season with 14 goals and six assists. He also loves playing in April and May, as seen by his performance in the 2012 NCAA postseason.
Ohio: Who isn’t excited to see Kyle Harrison? The superstar is back after sitting out the past four seasons, but is still only 30 years old. He has 103 points in 51 career MLL games.
Charlotte: Matt Danowski led the Hounds in goals (33), points (49) and tied Ryan Young for the team lead in assists (10). Adam Ghitelman played 13 games last year, posting a 7-6 record with a 12.10 goals against and a .497 save percentage.
Ohio: Rookie Logan Schuss led the Machine with 28 goals and 35 points last season despite playing in just 11 games. Steele Stanwick dished out 20 assists on the year, tying him for second in the league. Brian Phipps made nine appearances between the pipes going 1-7, recording a 12.35 goals against and a .524 save percentage.
2013 Season Series:
Charlotte went 2-0 vs. the Machine last year, scoring 13 goals in both contests. The Hounds won 13-7 at home in Week 6 before downing the Machine 13-10 in Columbus in Week 12.
Charlotte: Never lost to Ohio in their history (4-0).
Ohio: Scored 10 goals or more in their final six games of 2013 after doing so just once in their first eight.
Make sure to tune in to ESPN3.com at 7:00 p.m. (EST) as the Charlotte Hounds face off against the Ohio Machine at American Legion Memorial Stadium in Charlotte, N.C.