After last week’s record-breaking showing ended in defeat — a slim setback at the hands of the Boston Cannons — the Ohio Machine looks to get back on track tonight when it hosts the Rochester Rattlers at Selby Stadium.
Scoring wasn’t an issue last time out, as the Machine, led by Logan Schuss’ big night, poured in 16 goals to tie a team-best mark. Schuss finished with four, adding four assists to finish with a club-record eight points. The team, meanwhile, finished with a record 25 points overall.
The defense, on the other hand, wasn’t as tight as it’s been in weeks past, allowing 17 goals. To beat a solid Rattlers team, the Machine will have to play well on both ends.
“Right now, we’re trying to find a little bit of a balance,” Ohio coach Bear Davis said. “We just have guys making a little mistake here and there, and we have guys making three or four great plays, but that one play where they take their eye off costs us. We’re trying to convince the guys to find a way to eliminate that one bad play. Each guy needs to take initiative — it’s not an offense thing or a defense thing, it’s a team thing. We’re watching them as we break down the film and it’s not just one guy; it’s everybody. We have guys that score maybe four goals per game but will make a defensive mistake, and that’s the frustrating part.
“But at the same time it’s good because we know that we have some young guys out there, like Peter Baum or Tom Schreiber, that are still pretty infant in the league. The second time around playing some of those stronger teams, they are going to be more experienced and know what to expect.”
Rochester looks to be one such team so far, off to a 4-2 start through the first part of the season — a mark good enough for the second-best record in the league.
The Rattlers, like the Machine, are coming off a close contest, slipping past Chesapeake 8-7 last week in double overtime. Kevin Leveille, who finished with a hat trick, scored the game-winning goal.
Today will mark the fifth showdown between the two teams, with the series currently tied 2-2. Coming into the season, half of Ohio’s wins were against Rochester, both coming at Selby Stadium. The team’s first win in club history was a 16-10 decision over the Rattlers May 19, 2012.
To swing the series in his team’s favor, Davis said his guys are going to have to be the aggressor.
“We just have to play a little bit hungrier,” he said. “We talked about this going into the Bayhawks game: when you lose a game by a goal or two, it’s just one or two plays that decide that. You have to be hungry for those one or two plays and maybe Boston was a little bit hungrier than us. We have to figure that out against Rochester.”
Face-off is set for 5:30 p.m. The game will be televised on MLL Network at 8.