— Ohio Machine GameDay (@MachineGameDay) August 2, 2014
Such was the last word written on this writer’s notepad for the game played on Saturday, August 2nd, 2014 in Rochester, New York. Many happenings in this game warranted that word, but one, above all, stands as groundbreaking: The Ohio Machine, for the first time since the first game of the season, propelled its season record over .500 and held tightly onto the so coveted outright fourth place league standing with a 17-15 victory against the Rochester Rattlers.
A match that quivered back and forth like a well-matched arm wrestle, “runs” were the deciding factor in what was a true race to the finish. After Rochester scored 6 out of the 8 total goals in the third quarter, taking a one goal lead over Ohio, the Machine stormed back, scoring 5 out of the total 7 goals in the quarter and ending with four straight goals to ensure the victory, capped off by two consecutive Steele Stanwick fireballs that would put the nails in the hypothetical coffin.
The victory for the Machine completed the season sweep of the (now) tied-for-first-place Rochester, who now sits two games ahead of the fourth-placed Ohio.
Marcus Holman, who, in the two teams’ last meeting, netted five goals, led the Machine to victory with six goals and two assists to make for a monstrous 8 total points on the evening. He was, undoubtedly, named the game’s most valuable player.
“I’ve said this throughout my career, but I am a beneficiary of great teammates,” explained Peter Baum on the TLN postgame show. “Tonight, the ball just seemed to bounce my way a little bit. … Fortunately, we came out with the win, for sure.”
Holman led the way from the start of the game, netting two of the Machine’s four first quarter goals in what would become a one goal lead heading into the second quarter for the Machine. Dangerous Rochester attackman Jordan Wolf scored the first goal of the game just eight seconds after the first face off, but soon thereafter Holman netted his first in what would start a back-and forth battle not only highlighted by offense, but also by extremely improved defense by the Ohio Machine. Goalie Brian Phipps saved an amazing seven would-be goals for Ohio in the first quarter alone, while the defense in front of him, for the most part, was calm, speedy, fluent, and rather “oily”. Twelve minutes into the quarter, after All-Star Rochester goalie John Galloway got slammed in the midsection and knocked down by a rifled Peter Baum shot, Holman gobbled up the loose ball and shoved it in the open goal for the Machine to make for a one goal lead that would first break the back-and-forth pattern of scoring. Such would start a 4-5 goal run for the club, as Galloway came out of the game and Steele Stanwick converted a buzzer-beater for the Machine.
Right in the first five minutes of the second quarter, two goals were scored by a Machine offense who was then facing a cold backup goalie in Jason LaShomb for Rochester. Such fortune gave the Machine a 3-goal lead that they wouldn’t relinquish throughout the second quarter. Bending Rochester’s arm back more in the hypothetical arm wrestle, the Machine’s offensive prowess was highlighted by a two-point goal by Peter Baum and two later goals by Steele Stanwick and Holman, respectively. Even though Rochester went 6-9 on face-offs in the quarter and scored four goals, headlined by two Dave Lawson rifles, the Machine worked meticulously to ensure that the closed door that was their lead did not swing open, ending the quarter with a 10-7 lead.
In gritty fashion, the third quarter showcased a comeback run by the Rattlers. After a power play goal by Marcus Holman that put the Machine up by 2 goals, Rochester went on a tear and broke open the door of their deficit that was closed for most of the evening. Three goals were scored in succession by Jordan Macintosh, Dave Lawson, and Mark Cockerton within five minutes to put the Rattlers in the lead for the first time since they led 2-1 in the first quarter. After a quick answer off of the next face off: an unassisted goal by Bobby Datillo for the Machine, Cockerton slammed in a gutsy last-second goal to further implant Rochester’s presence in the match.
For the first time all year, the Machine lost a lead that they possessed for most of the evening. As the story has gone for the majority of the season, the Machine have become the David Copperfield’s of the MLL, locking themselves in the iron steel cage of a large and early deficit and momentum swinging against them and working their way out with seconds this year. Though, on Saturday, the Machine were on the other end for most of the night, having a rather controlling momentum to accompany their play. So, maybe it was an advantage for the Machine to go into the fourth quarter with a deficit, or maybe it was just another bridge to cross for the growing club. Either way, after Cockerton scored early to make for a 2 goal Rochester lead, Logan Schuss scored on a Machine power play, only to allow for another goal by Dave Lawson for Rochester. Time was running out. Within one minute, two Machine goals were scored for the Machine to tie the game, and soon thereafter, with minutes to spare, Steele Stanwick added the aforementioned 2 final goals to wrap up the Machine victory off of a final run.
The win continues a winning streak that the club has never seen in its history. The four wins in these last four weeks have continued a playoff push that will wrap up next week when the Machine play at home against Florida.
Goalie Brian Phipps came out with the win for Ohio, saving 18 shots off of 33 shots on goal, making for a 55% save percentage, which might not serve justice for some of the saves Phipps made for Ohio on the night. John Galloway received the loss at goal for Rochester, in what was their first home loss on the season.
At the face off X, Eric O’Brien and Bobby Datillo converted 17-33 chances for the club, with O’Brien going 9-16 and Datillo having a 8-17 statistic.
For Rochester, Dave Lawson and Mark Cockerton led the way with 4 goals a piece, with Lawson having 5 total points. Jordan Wolf, who demolished the Machine in the teams’ last meeting, was held to one goal and one assist on the night.
Next Saturday, August 9th, Ohio will return home to Delaware to perform a curtain call on the regular season. Florida, who was eliminated from playoff contention on Saturday, will come to Selby as the final obstacle for the Machine for a playoff position. Simply put, if the club wins, they are in the playoffs. Though, if Florida defeats the Machine, Boston will have to lose to Rochester to put the Machine into the playoffs.