The Ohio Machine moved into a playoff spot with last weekend’s thrilling 13-12 overtime win over the Hounds. To stay in the mix, and potentially even strengthen its case for making its first-ever trip to the postseason, the team will have to knock off the league’s top dog, the Denver Outlaws, today at Selby Stadium.
Despite falling to the Outlaws (8-3) in each of its last five tries, Machine (5-6) coach Bear Davis said his team is confident heading into the showdown. Denver beat Ohio, 14-12, the first time the two tangled this season in Denver back in early May. The two-goal loss was a building block, but this week is all about positive results, not moral victories.
“After a couple of those one-goal, two-goal losses it’s enough talk,” he said. “It’s about doing … and the playoff picture will take care of itself if we just take care of our own business. Just don’t be distracted by the ‘what ifs’ and just do it.
“We’re looking at our lineup first, and how we can best prepare with our best 19 verses Denver, and then put those guys in position to be successful. There’s no question Denver is great. I mean, they do a wonderful job.”
Ohio, which is currently tied for 4th in Major League Lacrosse with Boston, has been doing a wonderful job this season, too, especially in terms of finding the back of the net.
The Machine leads the league in goals with 147 — a mark buoyed by midfielder Peter Baum’s team-leading and club-record 29 goals in his first MLL season. Only Denver’s Eric Law, who also has 29 goals on the season, has as many as Baum league wide.
Last week’s win over Charlotte, though, was all about midfielder Tom Schreiber and rookie attackman Derek Maltz — two guys Davis knows he’ll need to beat a loaded Denver squad. Schreiber shook off a slow afternoon to bury the game winner while Maltz scored a team-best four goals in the first MLL game of his career last Saturday.
“Earlier, Tom had said they (the Hounds) were sliding away from him and said, ‘just get me the ball,’” Davis said thinking back to last week’s big-time win. “He wasn’t having the greatest night of his career shooting. When you have a guy that hasn’t really found his groove all game shooting and in overtime demands the ball, I think that’s pretty special.”
What Maltz did was pretty special, too. Special, but not all that unexpected.
“Derek practiced with us when we were down at Chesapeake, so we got a little glimpse of what he was capable of doing,” the coach said. “To be honest with you, I wasn’t completely surprised that he had that kind of game … we just knew he was pretty good.”
The game against Denver, which will be broadcast live on the CBS Sports Network, is set for 4:30 p.m.
Theohiomachine.com contributed to this report.