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
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
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
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
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