Even though sited in a new venue, Toyota Park in Bridgeview, Illinois, home of the MSL Chicago Fire franchise, it looked as though it would be the same old Machine as Chicago would narrow Denver’s lead with a fast break goal and then give up a goal on a run coming from the next face-off. Not tonight. Not with some of their draft additions, like Pat Heim,, midfielder from Penn State, who tonight tallied four goals, including the last one one for Chicago. Not with a new coaching staff, including John Combs, coach of the new Trier High School boys team, who earlier in the day had won their third state championship in a row.
Denver had entered the fourth quarter leading 1-12 and scored at13:22 to go up 15-12 and it looked like Chicago would incur another loss. Sean Morris nailed two goals to narrow it to 15-14 and then Nick Schmidt scored solo to tie the game at 15-15. Denver won the next face-off and scored in 40 ticks to regain the lead and 20 ticks after that, Geoff Snider won the face off and dumped the ball off and then cut back in to take a feed from Benson Erwin to score and go up 17-15. Athan Ianucci took a pass from Hall outside the 2-point arc and used a blistering sidearm to beat Trevor Tierney with a two-pointer to tie the game at 17-17 and electrify the crowd of almost 1000 with 3:13 left. A quick clamp on the next face gave the ball to Chicago and Dan Kallaugher fed Ianucci again up on the top right to score and give Chicago their third and final lead of the game. Chicago received contributions from three of its draft players tonight with Heim getting the most with 4 goals and then Jordan Hall getting 1 goal and two assists and Kallaugher getting an assist on the goal that put Chicago up for good.
Chicago opened the scoring a minute into the game when Kevin Leveille took a sharp feed from Athan Ianucci and beat Trevor Tierny to put the Machine up 1-0. Mike Law evened it up for Denver form a pass from his Pioneer teammate, Geoff Snider, 40 seconds later to knot it 1-1/ Jeff Sonke scored next to put the Outlaws up 2-1 and then Chiacgo scored three straight behind goals from Schmidt, Brad Heritage and Pat Heim, garnering his first MLL goal at 7:23., to lead 4-2. Heim was Chicago first pick in the draft of three days ago and many questioned the choice. However, Heim and his other newbie teammates proved that the Chicago management does know what they are doing. Heim punched in 4 goals tonight and Jordan hall had 1 goal and 2 assists and Dan Kallaugher had an assist. The Machine is serious about building a winner, and wait until Dekelbaum and Looney report to their field. Sonke again scored but this time from the two point circle and tied the game at 4. Two more goals by Hunter Lochte and Sonke made it 6-4 at the end of the quarter.
Denver opened the second quarter with a take it in your face goal from Matt Hanna who received a pass from Brendan Mundorf to take a 3-goal lead 7-4, and then Leveille fed Ianucci for his first goal for night to cut it to 7-5. Sonke and Mundorf put Denver up by tow more, 9-5 before being countered by Brad Heritage and Doug Shanahan cutting the lead agin to two, 9-7. Hann and Greg Bastis put the Outlaws up by four agin with the next two goals, 11-7 until Heim scored his second of the night. Two more Denver goals by Mike Brown and Mundorf closed the half at 13-8. The Machine’s defense stiffened in the third and Chicago closed the gap to 14-12 at the end fo the third. Denver opened the fourth quarter with a goal by Brown to lead 15-12, but Seamn Morris scored twice to cut it to15-14. Nick Schmidt tied the game at 6:02, 15-15. Hanna and Snider scored twice, both with fast runs from off of the face-off and Denver was again up at 17-15 and it looked as if Chicago would falter as it did in the past. Athan Ianucci had a different idea as he took a feed during an extra man opportunity on the right side from rookie Jordan Hall and cut wide to the left outside the 2-point arc and beat Tierney on a shot to the far pipe. 17-17. Ianucci took a quick feed from Dan Kallaugher 8 seconds later and beat Tierney again to give Chicago the 118-17 advantage. Heim ended the scoring for the evening 15 seconds after that with a solo shot and Chicago ran out the last 50 second to take home its first win.
On the pre-game side of things, the Machine was proud to host the Illinois State Boys Lacrosse Championships. In the Lacrosse Cup Final, Fenwick High School held off a fourth quarter charge by Grayslake Central High School, 11-9. The Lacrosse Cup is for Illinois lacrosse teams that are between 1 and three years old or for schools that have minuscule involvement in lacrosse. In the regular state final, thw two traditional North Shore powerhouses, New Trier High School and Loyola Academy battled it out. This game was typical of the usual matchups between these two teams with New Trier running out to a quick 3-0 lead and Loyola being too patient with its sets. In the third quarter when Loyola was making a strong run, New Trier was able to counter two of Loyola’s goal with quick scores off the subsequent face-off. Failure by Loyola to back up their shots on the last two minutes turned the ball over to New Trier. Loyola did regain possession at the 0:10 mark, but couldn’t get close enough to score.