The Charlotte Hounds beat the Ohio Machine and vault over the Boston Cannons in the MLL standings.
The Charlotte Hounds are one step closer to securing the franchise’s 1st playoff spot with their 13-10 win over the Ohio Machine on Saturday. The game saw a couple runs, most notably the 8-1 streak that the Hounds put together following the 2-0 lead that the Machine were able to establish to begin the game. During that stretch the Hounds showed why they are one of the more dangerous teams in the MLL, with 7 different players finding a way to get the ball past Brian Phipps. Ohio was able to put together a run of their own in the 3rd quarter, but ultimately the lead the Hounds were able to put together proved to be too much for the Machine. The loss keeps the Machine with 1 win at 1-11 in a season that has not seen much in the way of success on the field. For the Hounds, they once again reach the .500 plateau with a 6-6 record that sees them hold on to the last playoff spot by 1 game over the Boston Cannons, who were defeated by the Hamilton Nationals on Saturday. However, the 1-game advantage is a little misleading as the Cannons hold the tiebreaker over the Hounds. For the game, Charlotte was led by Peet Poillon and Ryan Young, who contributed 2 goals and 2 assists each. Logan Schuss contributed 3 goals and an assist in the losing effort for the Machine.
For all the troubles that Ohio has gone through during the 2013 season, there is reason to be very excited about their future. They have a lot of pieces on the offensive end, and ever since Bear Davis as been at the helm they have managed to score in double-digits. For a reference point they were able to accomplish this feat once in the 8 games before Davis. However, the improvement has not translated to wins at this point, which has to frustrate the fans and organization. It is worth mentioning that in the 1st 8 games of the season their average margin of defeat was close to 7 goals and the past 4 games has seen that average come to 2. If you are Ohio, it is time to see that progress manifest itself into a win in their final 2 games to match the total from a year ago. They have 2 road games left against Boston followed by New York, and can make an impact on the playoff chase if they can somehow defeat the Cannons next weekend.
All season Charlotte has had 2 fatal flaws: mental errors and maddingly inconsistent play. You saw a lot of the latter on Saturday. This is a team that is extremely dangerous on the offensive side of the field, and the acquisition of Josh Hawkins has helped their transition game. During the 2nd quarter you saw the same group that is able to stand toe-to-toe with the Outlaws. However, this team has shown the tendency to take their foot off of the gas and let teams erase leads. When that happens, it is often hard for the Hounds to regain the form that acquired the lead in the first place. For the remainder of the season, they have to find a way to play consistently at a high level if they are to make the playoffs. They have a game at home this week against the Nationals and then follow that with a trip to Chesapeake. Those 2 teams seem to be locked into the playoff mix, and when you consider Boston’s schedule along with the tiebreaker advantage, it would seem like the Hounds have 2 must win games left. There is no time to have an off night, and this team has shown that they are able to defeat anyone on a given night. Whether that type play is shown in each game remains to be seen, but it is impossible to deny the talent that Charlotte puts on the field each game.