June 22, 2012- The Hounds face a familiar foe in fellow expansion team, the Ohio Machine, tomorrow at Selby Field. On May 12th in Charlotte, the Hounds pulled out an 18-15 win after outscoring the Machine 5-1 in the second quarter, giving them a lead they would not relinquish for the remainder of the game. This time around, the Machine has home-field advantage against a Hounds team that has yet to celebrate a victory away from American Legion Memorial Stadium.
Popular media personality Connor “Bro Chill” Martin had a career game against the Hounds, recording a hat trick and two assists, adding up to a career high five points. A career year for him has put Martin second on the team in points behind veteran and former MLL All-Star game freestyle winner Chazz Woodson (14g, 4a). There is no doubt that the Hounds will have an extra eye on the sneaky Martin. John McFadyen, former Duke defender who has spent most of his career on the practice squad would be a great fit to put on Martin, as he is one of the most physical players on the team since playing both lacrosse and football at Duke university. McFadyen also has seen Martin play, being his teammate in Denver for several years. McFadyen still has fond words for who may be a rival soon, “He’s a friendly outgoing kid. He works hard, loves lacrosse and doesn’t drink.”Â It will no doubt be interesting to see how the Hound coaching staff decides how to use the role playing McFadyen against the Machine attack.
A player that the Hounds have not seen, however, is Steele Stanwick, one of the best players in the world who has the stats and Tewarrton Trophy to prove it. The Hounds will have their hand’s full in a revamped Ohio attack line in Woodson, Martin, and Stanwick. With a Hounds defense lead by lone star RyanÂ Flanagan (27gb, seventh in the MLL), the Hounds will have to stop the Machine with the most simple and effective defense there is, offense.
The Hounds counter the Machine with a strong attack line of their own in Matt Danowski, Jeremy Boltus, and MLL All-Star Billy Bitter. With an embarrassing Â 34.9% win percentage on faceoffs, the Hounds will need to find a way to hold possession and make the most out of every opportunity they get, which will be hard to provide with a limited 60 second shot clock. With the recent press coverage of Bitter, after being voted to the All Star game, it would be a great opening for Jeremy Boltus to take over the show. Widely regarded as the Chris Bosh to Bitter and Danowki’s LeBron and Wade roles, Boltus has quietly been second on the Hounds in goals scored this season. If to much attention is put on Bitter, Boltus has a chance to shine as he did last week being the only Hound to score multiple goals against Boston. Boltus should be rolling on all cylinders, looking for the 50th point of his career.
Neither teams have a good shot at the playoffs with a combined record of 2-11, but the emotion will be high in Selby Stadium as neither team wants to go down as the worst team in the league their inaugural year.
Keys to the gameÂ
Hounds: Make most of power play opportunities (1st in the league). Keep Stanwick from spreading the ball by constantly having Flanagan on his hands the whole game. Don’t let Kyle Hartzell shoot from behind the 2-point line.
Machine: Win as many face-offs as possible to keep the ball away from Jovan Miller and Stephen Berger in the transition game. Mix the tempo up with Stanwick feeding and Woodson driving from behind the cage.