This Machine needs some oil. They were on their heels for the second quarter when the Lizards ran off eight points in a row, including two two-pointers, both by Kevin Cromwell. One of the doubles came on a broken clearing pass from Chicago goalie Nick Murtha, who was 10 yards out of the crease and tossed a soft pass toward the right that was picked off by Cromwell. Cromwell took two quick steps to his right to put the open net in front of him and flipped an easy 30 yard bouncer into the net, catching Murtha off guard and way out of position. No Chicago long stick reacted quickly enough to try to cover the angle to the crease. It was just that sort of night for the Machine.
Long Island came prepared to shoot, running up an edge of shots on goal of 26 to 11 by halftime. Chicago takes too long to get acclimated to their opponents and has been unable to play more than one consistent game this year, other than their OT loss to Philadelphia. Chicago opened up well, with Steve Dusseau using a quick pick up move on the face to beat out Vlahkis and running south to fire a shot past Greg Cattrano to put Chicago up 1-0 with 10 seconds gone in the game. Kevin Leveille scored next, but the goal was erased with a crease violation (his fouth of the year). The first quarter ended tied at 2 and it looked as if the Machine would hang with Long island until the fourth quarter when Chicago usually revs up. No so tonight. Long Island dominated the second quarter, rattling off 8 points.
Chicago edged past the Lizards in the third quarter scoring four to their two goas, but agin the machine was plagued with poor passing on clears and working the ball from behind to up top. A number of passes were forced and the Lizards pounced on the bouncing balls to create fast breaks in transition. Murtha was replaced with Mike Gabel and the Chicago defense stiffened a bit letting Long Island have only 14 shots on goal. The Lizards finished with 40 shots to Chicago’s 30. Dukie Dan Flannery finally got on the scoreboard scoring twice, one in each of the third quarters. Flannery was gifted by Morris on both occasions, and one of them coming on a sick right to left cross crease pass, hitting Flannery a foot off the crease. Flannery quicksticked it past Cattrano’s left shoulder. Local Lyle Shirley (Lake Forest College) also scored. Flannery, Morris and Boulukos will be the spark for the Machine in the weeks to come, taking pressure off of Leveille and opening him up again. Leveille minded his manners tonight getting only a single penalty for an illegal body check. Long Island received the brunt of the yellow flags and once the Lizards were two men down , but Chicago could not convert. Chicago was a mediocre 20% for extra man opportunities tonight, taking one of five. Long Island converted two of their five advantages.
Another local highlight tonight was the invitation of 500 members of the Chicago Metro YMCA and its President Steve Cole, who placed the ceremonial face off ball tonight. This group pushed the attendance over 2000. Of interest is the fact that the YMCA will partner with the Machine and other local entities to introduce lacrosse into its fall programs for kids in the area.
Long Island hosts the Rattlers next, while the Machine travels west to meet San Francisco.