The Ohio Machine will look to make it four straight wins and move one game closer to its first-ever playoff appearance when it visits the Rochester Rattlers on Saturday.
Face-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. at Sahlen’s Stadium in Rochester, N.Y. The game can be seen live on the MLL YouTube Network.
A win against Rochester would help the Machine control its own playoff destiny. Machine Head Coach Bear Davis said his team is already treating the end of the season like the playoffs.
“For us, we’ve been talking, this has been our playoff for a couple of weeks and I think our guys have responded with the way they’ve played,” Davis said. “There’s no doubt they understand our back is against the wall, and we just can’t talk about doing something — we have to do something.”
The matchup pits the fourth-ranked Machine against the top-ranked Rattlers, but Ohio holds the season advantage after its 18-13 come-from-behind win against Rochester June 14 at Selby Stadium. All time, the Machine is 3-2 against the Rattlers, but is looking for it’s first win in Rochester.
While the Machine comes into the game on a three-game winning streak, the Rattlers have not lost once since their previous matchup with Ohio and are undefeated at home this season.
Davis said the key for Ohio will be to play smart on both sides of the ball, but that isn’t any different than the Machine’s game plan week in and week out.
“I don’t know if the recipe really changes week to week,” he said. “We’ve just got to keep doing what we do and be better at it than what we were last week, and that’s what we just keep telling the guys.”
He said as long as each player does his part, the team can keep on rolling.
“Just do your roles, do your job to the best of your ability, trust your teammates and keep moving the Machine core,” Davis said.
The Machine will be pitting Major League Lacrosse’s best offense against the league’s best statistical goalie in Rochester’s John Galloway.
Ohio boasts the only offense to tally 170 goals in 2014, while Machine midfielder Peter Baum is first in MLL with 32 goals. Galloway may have an 11.19 goals-against average, but the Machine is one of just two teams to put 18 goals past him this season.
Rochester Head Coach Tim Soudan said, with its high-powered offense, the Machine isn’t afraid of playing any team in the league, regardless of rankings.
“I don’t think they’re intimidated by anybody to be honest with you,” Soudan said. “They’re a very solid team, I think they’re very dangerous offensively.”
Davis said his team also recognizes that Rochester has a strong lineup, and is strong in the goal and talented offensively. He also said, playing in MLL, you matchup with a strong lineup top to bottom every week.
“We know they’re dangerous on offense, we understand they have a great goalie,” Davis said. “I think most of the time that’s what you find every week … it’s what you can pretty much say about everyone.”
Win or lose, the Machine will still have a shot at the playoffs when it hosts the Florida Launch on August 9 at Selby Stadium to end the regular season. Face-off is set for 7 p.m. and the game will be broadcast live on the MLL YouTube Network.