By Jackie Hobson
It was one for the record books as the Ohio Machine took down the New York Lizards for the first time in club history Saturday in Delaware.
Featuring two playoff-bound teams in front of a full crowd at Selby Stadium, a game Ohio won 14-9 thanks in part to a fast start, the contest did not disappoint.
The Machine (8-5) entered the game in second place in the Major League Lacrosse standings, but was still in need of a win in order to put itself in position to host a first-round playoff game on August 1. The Lizards (10-3), on the other hand, already solidified the top overall seed.
The Machine came out ready to lay it all on the line. The first quarter featured a Machine offense that could find nothing but the back of the net. The matchup featured two of the most explosive offenses in the league as the teams had scored a combined 341 goals entering the showdown.
Defenseman Brian Farrell started off the night with a goal after just a minute of play. Ohio’s Marcus Holman would follow before rookie Jimmy Bitter would fire away his first career two-point goal with 4:38 to go in the first quarter.
The Machine outscored the Lizards 7-2 in the first. However, having scored an average of 13 goals a game this season, the Lizards began to chip away at their five-goal deficit.
With the Lizards taking the slight advantage in the scoring column in the second quarter, the Machine lead was cut to four as the teams headed to halftime.
The third quarter went the Machine’s way as it continued to build its lead. Steele Stanwick put two goals in the back of the net to start the Machine run.
Peter Baum joined Stanwick in the scoring column, followed by Bitter, who earned his fourth hat trick of the season. Marcus Holman also scored goal number 35 of the season, just two behind his league-leading total from last year.
While the Machine offense was able to bring together a 13-8 lead by the quarter’s end, there would be no offense without gaining possession. Greg Puskuldjian fought hard in the center for the Machine to help Ohio expand its lead.
In the end, the Machine lead turned out to be just too much for the Lizards to overcome. Ohio never let the Lizards get closer than three goals and only used the fourth quarter to increase its lead.
Holman and Bitter led the Machine with three goals apiece.
The Machine will return to Selby Stadium next Saturday to take on the Boston Cannons in the final regular-season game of the 2015 campaign.