Comeback falls short as Machine drop home finale to Florida Launch
It’s been a rough 2018 campaign for the Ohio Machine. After a record-breaking opening day win against the New York Lizards, the Machine suffered through a massive seven game losing streak. A losing streak that lasted from mid-May until early July when the defending champions defeated the Florida Launch.
Both teams reunited again on Thursday night for the Sheens home finale at Fortress Obetz. Ohio came out ready to give the home fans a show, claiming an 8-6 advantage in shots and a 3-2 advantage on the scoreboard in the first quarter. Florida found its legs in the second quarter ripping off four unanswered goals. Ohio’s Davey Emala ended Ohio’s scoring drought with nine minutes to go in the second quarter to keep the hosts firmly in the contest.
A first half hat trick from the Launch’s Ryan Drenner allowed the visitors to retreat into the locker room with a 9-6 advantage. Florida’s second half ended much like its first half, with offensive production. Kieran McArdle extended the Launch’s lead to four with a goal to begin the second half.
Ohio’s Tom Schreiber and Bryce Wasserman scored on back-to-back possession to bring the hosts to within two goals. They were joined by teammates Kyle Harrison and Davey Emala as the Sheens scored four consecutive goals to tie the game at 10-a-piece with five minutes to go in the third quarter. A five-minute scoreless streak ended when Florida’s Kieran McArdle broke the deadlock with a goal with 55 seconds remaining in the quarter.
Florida added another goal to begin the fourth quarter, but the Machine weren’t going down without a fight. Fisticuffs broke out between the teams that resulted in two non-releasable penalties that saw Ohio’s Steven Waldeck and Florida’s Connor Buczek sent off for a minute each to cool off.
Perhaps the fight is what the Sheens needed as Ohio’s Frank Brown scored two minutes after the fight to bring the hosts to within one score. Florida’s Kieran McArdle’s fourth goal of the evening extended the Launch’s lead to two goals with under six minutes remaining in the game.
A persistent attack allowed Ohio’s Bryce Wasserman to bring the Sheens within one with three minutes to go in the game. The Machine continued to pressure the Launch goal, midfielder Kyle Harrison hit the frame with a shot so hard it bounced back to the midfield line. Time expired on the valiant effort from the Machine as the hosts fall to Launch 13-12 and see their record drop to 3-10 on the season. Head coach Bear Davis and his squad head to Boston for the season finale, looking to build positive momentum for the 2019 season.