Machine fall in 2015 home opener to Denver

The Ohio Machine were looking to bounce back on Sunday after a season-opening loss with a win in their 2015 home opener by downing the defending Major League Lacrosse champion Denver Outlaws. But with 1.2 seconds left in the game and the scored tied at 13, the Outlaws dashed the Machine’s hopes as Michael Bocklet whipped in the game winning goal to give Denver the victory, 14-13.

Despite losing in such heart-breaking fashion, Machine head coach Bear Davis felt there was something positive to take from the loss.

“I’m happy that our guys found some fight and we dug it out to make it a situation where we could lose in the last minute,” he said.

The Machine entered the fourth quarter down 12-9 and the outcome looked bleak as they were still down by the same score with less than five minutes to go. But midfielder Tom Schreiber stuck in his second goal of the game with 4:43 to play and pulled off a hat trick a minute later to pull Ohio to within one.

With 1:15 left, the Machine knotted it up 12-12 on attackman Marcus Holman’s second goal of the game.

Denver would strike back 45 seconds later and take the lead on a wrap-around shot by midfielder Justin Pennington.

Just seconds later, though, Machine goalie Brian Phipps snared his 13th save of the day, tossed it to Brian Farrell and the 6’5”, 240-pound defenseman rambled the length of the field and fired a high-arcing, over-hand shot just outside of the goalie’s crease to once again tie the game with 22 seconds remaining.

Denver won the ensuing faceoff but Ohio managed to fend off Denver’s attack by keeping their offense passing the ball around on the wings. But Bocklet found a lane and raced inside and drew the entire Machine defense into a scrum for the ball. And with time about to expire, the Outlaws’ attackman flipped the ball toward the goal which bounced off the upper post and looked to barely cross the line. After a short debate, the refs ruled it a goal and sealed the Machine’s second loss of the season.

The loss puts Ohio at 0-2 as Denver (1-1) rebounded from their season-opening loss to Boston.

Bocklet ended the game as he started, scoring in both the first 15 seconds and last second of the game, and led all scorers with four goals.

“Offensively, we did OK, but it wasn’t enough,” said Ohio’s Peter Baum.

The Machine midfielder had another solid outing, though, leading the team with four points on three goals and one assist. He pushed his overall goal total in the first two games to a team-leading six and has racked up nine points, which also leads the team.

Baum said he knows there room for improvement, though.

“It’s tough because we have a week off … but we have a lot of issues we need to work through. I don’t think talent is the problem, we know we can play with anybody,” Baum said. “We just need to clean some things up.”

The Machine took to the locker room at the end of the first half tied at 6-6 but found themselves down early in the third quarter as Denver’s Bocklet and midfielder Drew Snider teamed up to score three goals in the first five minutes and helped the Outlaws outscore Ohio 6-3 by the end of the quarter.

Ohio’s Kyle Harrison said the team needs to be able to figure out how to harness the energy and emotion of the final five minutes and put it together for a complete game.

“You know how it goes, your back is against the wall and then all of the sudden you’re in it and your emotion kicks in and your focus picks up. But we have to figure out a way on how to start games that way as opposed to getting hit in the mouth and then all of sudden being like, ‘uh oh, we’re in it’ and getting ready to turn it on.”

The tri-captain isn’t ready to push the panic button just yet, though.

“It’s such a double-edged sword because it’s early and you don’t want to start making crazy changes. But we’ll all certainly have to take a look in the mirror, each player on this team, and figure out what we could’ve done better,” he said. “We have a group of very motivated guys that really care about winning.”

The Machine’s next game is on the road May 3 against the Chesapeake Bayhawks.

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