The Ohio Machine try to turn their first win in to a streak in a game against the undefeated Denver Outlaws this week.

Ben Volen's picture

Denver is riding high after beating their archrival Chesapeake Bayhawks last week, earning them the only undefeated record (7-0) in the MLL. Rookie Eric Law led his team in scoring, notching 5 to complete the team effort. The Ohio Machine earned their first win of the season last week against the Rochester Rattlers, getting some balanced scoring from the likes of Joe Cummings, Connor Martin, and Marcus Holman. In the first match of these teams this season, Denver took home the victory 13-8 on a sloppy game from both sides. The Outlaws have really found their rhythm offensively and have one of the most stout defenses, so I think we are all curious to see if Ohio can stay in this one!

Keys to the match:

MLL ROOKIES:

Denver Outlaw rookie Eric Law has been sensational in his first two outings, finishing with 9 goals on his 9 alone shots on goal. Winning back-to-back “Rookie of the Week” in the MLL, look for this young University of Denver grad. to draw long stick middie defender’s more often this week. Marcus Holman and Logan Schuss are the most recent rookies to step up for the Machine team. Last week, both players contributed to the win with scoring, but I think Holman is destined to be a key player in this league with a bit more experience. I watched him play his ball at UNC and he is a natural finisher and has the stick-fake ability to really frustrate an opposing goalie.

GOALIE PLAY:

To simply say that Jesse Schwartzman is playing fantastic so far this season isn’t enough. This veteran goalkeeper has been a wall in the net for the Outlaws and maybe even more impressive is his clearing game and determination to get the ball up to his middies for fast-break opportunities. His .568 save percentage is a great statistic, but his defense is the reason why he is getting great traces on opposing shots. Lee Zink, Matt Bocklet, Dillon Roy and Tom Guadagnolo all have been playing lights out shut-down d and I expect them to come out fired up at home this week. On the Ohio side of the ball, Brian Phipps has stepped up and beat out Scott Rodgers for the starting nod. Phipps has posted a .575 save percentage and really anchored his team to victory last week holding the Rattlers to 11 goals. He has a very young defense in front of his crease, but one of the biggest standouts has to be the long stick Kyle Hartzell. Hartzell is known for his face-off ability and pushing the break, but he is also a fantastic defender and you’ll see him bounce all around the field shutting down key players.

TRENDING STATISTICS:

Both squads are laden with talent, but the numbers don’t lie. Denver is 7-0 and Ohio is 1-6…Denver leads the MLL with 127 points scored compared to Ohio’s 57…Denver has 73 points against them while Ohio has 90. Just looking at those statistics alone can show you this mismatch, but then we start to look at individual players. Steele Stanwick leads the Machine squad scorers with 17 points while Brendan Mundorf has 28 as well as 3 other Outlaws having more than 20. In the face-off category, Anthony Kelly is crushing everyone winning 114 of 196 draws and Eric O’Brien of Ohio has won 64 of 135. Kelly definitely has the upper hand in this category and Ohio will need to adjust in their game plan accordingly.

Statistics don’t always translate to victories on the pitch, but if you look at how drastic the differences are in these two squads by the books, it gives you a pretty good view of why and where they sit in the MLL rankings.

PREDICTION

Unfortunately….I smell a blowout!

SCORE: Denver Outlaws 22—Ohio Machine 9