The Ohio Machine head to Denver to face the Outlaws on a July 4 bash. Both teams are coming off a loss before the All-Star game. Denver needs to get back on track in order to keep pace in the race for the playoffs while Ohio will need to win to help get out of the cellar of the league.
Ohio may be in the bottom three in goals scored, but they have some really talented individuals that will have to step up in order to keep pace with Denverâ€™s high octane offense.
Brendan Mundorf is the star in the game. Heâ€™s second in the league in points (31) and goals (17). He the teamâ€™s unquestioned leader and is putting up a case to be league MVP. Jordan McBride is also putting together a strong season with 16 goals. Rookies Mark Matthews and Chris Bocklett are very talented scorers as well and have shown they can strike in bunches.
Individually, the Ohio attack is pretty exciting. All-Star Chazz Woodson leads the team with 16 goals and 20 points. Fellow All-Star Jim Connolly is having a breakout season with 13 goals thus far. Rookie Steele Stanwick is already showing his silky smooth passing with five assists in two games. Making these pieces fit together is just taking some time.
Jeremy Sieverts has been incredible for the Outlaws this year. He was the main man in the first three games of the season while Mundorf either wasnâ€™t there or making his way back. He had seven, four and six points in the first three games of the season. After not playing at all last season he has 16 goals and four assists. Heâ€™s joined by Peet Poillon, the teamâ€™s third leading scorer with 21 points, Terry Kimener, whoâ€™s 10 goals are his most since his rookie season in 2008 (16) and already has a career-high nine assist and rookie Colin Briggs, a talented player over his four-year career at Virginia.
With the arrival of Stanwick, Ohio has used Connor Martin more at midfield. Heâ€™s tied for second on the teamâ€™s scoring list and gives some punch to a unit that is not very deep.
Denverâ€™s Lee Zink against Ohioâ€™s Kyle Hartzell. These two players are getting a lot of respect around the league for their play. Zink has stepped up this season for a depleted Outlaws defense and routinely guards the opposing teamâ€™s best attackman. Hartzell has done more than play defense for Ohio; heâ€™s also the teamâ€™s fourth leading scorer with eight goalsâ€”six of which are two-point goals, for 14 points. The Machineâ€™s Ray Megill is seventh on the team in scoring with six points. Greg Bice was an All-Star and the team also has Brett Hughes.
Denverâ€™s Matt Bocklet is also having a good year and helps Zink out a lot.
Both teams are in the bottom half of the league in face-off winning percentage. Anthony Kelly is the Machineâ€™s main face-off guy and is winning a little more than 48-percent of his face-offs. Denver has had a rotating cast of face-off guys with Chris Mattes taking the most, winning just under 45-percent of his 112 face-offs. The team just signed Nolan Godfrey and he will get his chance at solving Denverâ€™s issues at the â€˜Xâ€™.
All-Star Jesse Schwartzman, long considered one of the best in the league, is third in MLL in goals against average (11.05).Â Heâ€™s also second in saves (97).
Of eligible goalies, Stefan Schroeder is 11th in the league in goals against average (15.29), while Brian Phipps is 10th (14.80). Schroeder got the teamâ€™s win and made 17 saves in that game, while Phipps has played two of the last three games and made double-digits in saves.