Denver Throws Wrench into Machine, 17-12

Denver Throws Wrench into Machine, 17-12

Denver Throws Wrench into Machine, 17-12

Denver Throws Wrench into Machine, 17-12

Despite missing several key players due to the World Lacrosse Championships in London, Ontario, the Denver Outlaws defeated the Chicago Machine 17-12 in their final home game of the season at Invesco Field at Mile High.

On a perfect 65-degree Denver evening and on fan appreciation night, the shorthanded Outlaws sent the 12,739 devoted fans in attendance off in style with a victory that was really never in question.

Without starting goalie Trevor Tierney (USA), midfielder Geoff Snider (Canada), and attackmen Brendan Mundorf (Australia) and Jeff Zywicki (Canada), the Outlaws were forced to shift a couple of players around to get the win. The Machine were also missing two key weapons in their arsenal in Doug Shanahan and Todd Rassas, both of Team USA.

Starting between the pipes for the Outlaws was Alex Smith, the first club-level player to ever play in the MLL. The former Colorado State standout made several spectacular in-close saves early in the game to set the tone for Denver. He went on to make 14 saves and notch both his first start in the league, as well as capture his first victory.

"I thought he played great," said Outlaws G.M. Brian Reese. "I'm really excited for him because he has waited and worked hard for this and he proved that he is a very capable goalie."

In a game that saw a number of scoring runs, the Outlaws kicked things off quickly with goals from midfielders Brian Langtry and Mike Law before Chicago finally landed on the board on a Kevin Leveille rip just inside the 2-point arc to beat Smith stick side high and ring the top right corner of the goal.

The Outlaws went on to score three more goals in the quarter to take a 5-1 lead into the second. The scoring was highlighted by midfielder Greg Bastis' goal, which was the first of his young career in the MLL, a time- and-room blast with just under two minutes remaining in the period on an assist from midfielder Jeff Sonke.

Denver started things in the second just as they had in the first quarter with a 2-point rocket off of Josh Sims' stick, again from Sonke, on their first man-up of the game. This was Sims' league-leading seventh 2- pointer of the season.

The Outlaws' 7-0 run was capped off by Law's second goal of the night that saw him throw an amazing fake just right of the goal off a restart on a man-up. He trotted toward the goal from the endline and then froze defenseman Damien Davis in his tracks with a pump fake up-field before tip- toeing underneath Davis and beating Machine goalie Mike Gabel over his right shoulder. The goal made Denver 2-2 on man-up opportunities to that point and put them up 9-1 in the game.

The goal by Law must have triggered something in the Machine players as they went on a 4-0 run of their own to bring the score to at least a respectable level before heading into the half.

Two of Chicago's recent collegiate draft picks Dan Flannery and Sean Morris had a finger in the Machine's second quarter scoring. Flannery started things off with a crank past Smith off a pass from midfielder Dan Paccione in a fast break. Flannery followed this up with a feed to midfielder Chris Malone for a one-timer.

Malone tallied his second of the game less than two minutes later on an assist from Morris, Chicago's first pick (3rd overall). Morris added another three assists to go along with a goal for an impressive 5-point evening to stay in contention as one of the league's leading rookie scorers.

Leveille, Chicago's leading goal scorer, added a garbage goal, his second of three on the night, after Smith had trouble containing a rebound on an initial shot. At the break, Denver had doubled-up Chicago, 10-5.

The Outlaws came out in the third and responded with a 3-0 run, which netted both Sims and Law respective hat tricks. However, the Machine put the pressure on once more rattling off six unanswered goals, again triggered by Morris and Flannery. Morris hit twine on a time-and-room shot to score through Smith's five-hole. He then assisted on the next two, one to Leveille and the other to fellow attackman Stephen Brundage for his lone goal of the game.

Flannery then continued a 3-0 Machine run from the third into the fourth quarter with a right-handed top shelf missile before Chicago midfielder Zach Heffner put in his first goal of the season in transition.

Flannery added another in transition from former-UMASS star Jake Deane to bring the game within two goals, 13-11, and get Outlaws fans and coaches sweating.

As usual though, the Outlaws were able to flick the offensive switch 'on' and end a 6-0 run by the Machine to put the game out of reach. Attempting to avoid an embarrassing loss to the winless Machine, the Outlaws scored four of the next five goals in the game.

The high point of this scoring had to be attackman Matt Hanna's unbelievable acrobatic shot that forced fans to their feet. In transition, Sims pushed the ball up the wing to attackman Matt Rewkowski who then flipped the ball to a backdoor cutting Hanna. Diving into the air and through the crease, Hanna stuffed the ball into the net before landing and had Gabel and the defenseman he just burned scratching their heads.

Morris and Flannery hooked up for a late Machine goal, but it was not enough as the Outlaws outscored Chicago 17-12 at the final horn. "This was definitely a good win for us as we were obviously missing four of our guys," said Reese. "We had players playing in slightly different roles and you just love to get a win out of it. It's really good that our guys were able to respond when it [got] tight."

The victory improves the Outlaws to 7-2 overall and 4-2 at Invesco as they conclude their home schedule. Chicago is still in search of their first win, dropping to a league worst 0-9. The two will meet one final time this season in two weeks as the Outlaws travel to Illinois to play at the Sports Complex of Benedictine University located just outside of downtown Chicago.

The Outlaws will travel to Long Island to take on the Lizards this upcoming weekend with playoff hopes in their minds, while the Machine will host the L.A. Riptide, hoping to close out the season on a high note with their first franchise win with three games to go.

Photos: Tim Head

Denver Outlaws vs. Chicago Machine
Current Record
Denver Outlaws7-2
Current Record
Chicago Machine0-9
Post A Comment To This Story >

    by (#105934) on 7/23/06 @4:58PM
has chicago won a game yet?
Reply to this

Nope. (nt)
    by (#38957) on 7/23/06 @7:24PM
(no text)
Reply to this

    by (#136918) on 7/24/06 @4:08PM
loosing is chicago's sig
Reply to this

    by (#139415) on 8/12/06 @12:03PM
Give em a break. its their 1st season!
Reply to this

    by (#36799) on 7/26/06 @8:03AM
How is Denver getting more people at the games than any of the East Coast teams?

They get more people at their games than the ASG and the Championship games - it is nuts...

I want to take a trip out there and see who the h@#$ is going to these games - is lacrosse that popular in Denver - I never thought it would do this well there...
Reply to this

Lax is just popular in Colorado
    by (#28132) on 7/26/06 @8:35AM
The Mammoth almost consistently fills its house so why should the numbers at the Outlaws surprise anyone. At least two simple reasons: decent ticket prices and a body of people involved in the growth of lacrosse.
Denver knows how to market its product, unlike Chicago, who is hard pressed to even get its season ticket holders to consistently attend games and they average perhaps 1300 at each game, real body wise. And then Chicago management comes up with low cost ticket price promotion in mid-season after realizing their faux pas, so as to rub it in the face of their no-show season ticket holders. By the way, instead of the title reading "wrench in the Machine", it should have read "stuck a fork in the Machine". They are worse than the Cubs at this point and seem to be incapable of working the ball around with more than two passes. Run, pass,pass shoot, they are like the NY Giants of the 70's (shades of Jpe Piszarcik!). Maybe the franchise can move to West Layfayette, Indiana next year.
Reply to this