The Ohio Machine are the 2017 MLL champions


Frisco, Texas, August 19, 2017 — The Ohio Machine are the 2017 MLL CHAMPIONS!! An end of the game battle-back lead by Marcus Holman, who scored four in a row would make the Ohio Machine the MLL Champions for the first time in program history.

The Machine led 5-3 early in the second quarter before the Outlaws’ young guns got loose. Second-year attackman Matt Kavanagh, rookie midfielder Zach Currier and third-year attackman Wes Berg ignited a 7-1 run spanning nearly 20 minutes.

Kavanagh got it going with consecutive goals, grabbing an errant shot by Law for the putback and then freezing Ohio defenseman Jackson Place with an inside split dodge with a diving finish to tie the game at 5.

Holman’s extra-man goal — the Machine’s only goal during this stretch — put Ohio up 6-5.

But on the ensuing faceoff, Currier came streaking in from the wing, snared the ball one-handed, darted into the offensive zone, faked a drop pass, scored and drew a penalty when he absorbed a late hit from Place — all in a matter of 11 seconds.

Then as the second quarter ended, Currier threaded a long feed from the top of the box to attackman Michael Bocklet on the doorstep. Bocklet faked twice and scored at the buzzer to give Denver a 7-6 halftime lead.

The Outlaws opened the third quarter with three more unanswered goals. Kavanagh, who had six assists in Denver’s semifinal win over Rochester last week, took over as the distributor. He drew slides and set up Eric Law and then Berg for goals to give Denver a 10-6 lead with 5:25 left in the third quarter.

“I’m not going to lie. I kind of got into the guys,” Holman said of the Machine’s mid-game swoon in a post-game interview on CBS Sports Network. “We were playing selfish lacrosse, I thought. We got here by playing team ball.”

Peter Baum provided the spark. The midfielder who tied Law for MLL’s regular season scoring crown ended the drought with a goal at the 2:45 mark. Less than a minute, operating behind the goal in an inverted set, Baum fed line mate Kyle Harrison for a goal. Then he finished a Mark Cockerton feed across the top with a righty time-and-room blast from about 12 yards out to pull Ohio within one at 10-9 with 48 seconds left in the third quarter.

Kavanagh scored twice in the first five minutes of the fourth quarter — sandwiching a beautiful diving backhanded goal by Machine rookie Connor Cannizzaro — to put Denver ahead 12-10 with 10:30 remaining.

But it was all Machine from there.

Midfielder Jake Bernhardt took another invert feed from Baum and deposited it to make it 12-11. Seven seconds later, it was tied, thanks to faceoff specialist Greg Puskuldjian, who won the draw and scored untouched to knot it at 12 apiece.

The turning point came after a questionable pushing penalty on Outlaws midfielder Noah Molnar, who defended a diving Cannizzaro on a play at the crease. Ohio converted on the extra-man opportunity, as Holman froze the defense with a stick fake, stepped in and sent a righty rocket past Kelly, giving the Machine a 13-12 lead with 7:15 left.

Seventy-three seconds later, Holman scored again, this time finishing a feed from Bernhardt on the restart after the Outlaws committed a costly over-and-back turnover while clearing.

Sixty-six seconds later, Holman made it three in a row, taking a pass across the top from Schreiber and scoring with a righty overhand release that was nearly identical to the first goal of the flurry.

Just like that, Ohio led 15-12 with 3:56 remaining. When Cannizzaro connected 48 seconds later to make it 16-12, it became clear the Machine would not relinquish the lead this time — the specter of their collapse in last year’s final now a distant memory.

Ohio, which moved into a new stadium outside Columbus this season (in Obetz), punctuated its sixth season as a franchise with its first MLL championship.

“I’d be lying if I said we didn’t learn from that and use it as experience and fuel,” said Holman, who was drafted out of North Carolina in 2013. “I love these guys, and I’m very thankful to be a part of this organization and this team.”

Holman finished with four goals and two assists. Cannizzaro added four goals, Baum had two goals and three assists, and Schreiber, named MLL MVP for the second consecutive season Friday, contributed a goal and three assists. Puskuldjian held his own against Tom Kelly, finishing 15-for-32 after going just 3-for-16 in their encounter July 23, to go with his timely fourth-quarter goal.

Kavanagh led Denver with four goals and two assists. Berg (three goals, one assist) and Currier (one goal, three assists) added four points apiece in the loss. The Outlaws, appearing in a league-record seventh championship game, are now 2-5 all-time in MLL finals.

The Machine went a combined 2-24 in their first two seasons before making their first playoff appearance in 2014. They lost in the semifinals to Rochester that year and again in 2015 before earning their first playoff victory in 2016.

The ultimate comeback in the fourth quarter with seven goals to give Ohio the 17-12 victory over the Denver Outlaws. Connor Cannizzaro, Marcus Holman, Greg Puskuldjian and Jake Bernhardt would score the goals in the fourth to make the Machine the MLL Champions for the first time in Machine history.

Five Ohio Machine players and head coach selected for 2017 post season awards

COLUMBUS, Aug. 18 — The Ohio Machine have five player nominated for Major League Lacrosse post season awards. Tom Schreiber, Peter Baum, Kyle Bernlohr and Matt McMahon have all been selected for league awards, while head coach Bear Davis is up for Brine Coach of the Year.

Matt McMahon – Nominated for the Warrior Defensive Player of the Year

Okay, if you have been involved in the twitter conversations involving Moneyball Lacrosse and the Faceless Men, then you are well aware that McMahon is having one of the most amazing seasons. He has quickly soared to the top of the defender category, leading the league with 33 caused turnovers, 43 groundballs, 7 run-outs and 16 rebounds, all of which are career highs for this three-year player. On May 27, McMahon and the Machine defense held the Launch to just seven goals, their fewest in a game this season.

Mark Cockerton – Nominated for Maverik Most Improved Player of the Year

He is third in points and goals in the league and in all honesty, has been the one scrummaging around the net this team has sufficiently relied on. Cockerton was quick, to begin with, he had goal, on goal, on goal and proved he is one of the most shifty and elusive players you will see in MLL. He scored a career-high five goals in Ohio’s 14-13 loss to Rochester in Week 15, his second straight five-point performance. The Virginia product spent the first two years of his career in Rochester before joining the Machine in 2016.

He finished the season with a team high and career best 35 goals, he tallied a career high 12 assists, career high 47 points, career high 23 groundballs and a career high three game-winning goals.

Kyle Bernlohr – Nominated for Maverik Most Improved Player of the Year & Brince Goalie of the Year

Bernlohr came into the Ohio lineup last year, but this season he quickly made a name for himself. The Maryland alum has been outstanding in the goal and has quickly soared to the top of the MLL goalie category. Bernlohr set career highs across the stat page with 140 saves, only 11.35 goals-against-average and a league best .567 save percentage. He was named the Warrior Defensive Player of the Week for Week 6 after stopping 14 of 21 shots against the Launch in the first start of his pro career. Bernlohr is the highest drafted goalie ever from the University of Maryland (No. 11, 2016) and is the first former Terps goalie to lead the league in save percentage.

While Bernlohr is still young, only in his second year as a professional lacrosse goaltender, he clearly is going to go down as one of the greatest to ever play the game.

Peter Baum – Nominated for Major League Lacrosse Coke-Cola Most Valuable Player

Peter Baum has been everything and more for the Ohio Machine this year. The three-time All-Star is having his best season as a Sheen since joining in 2014 with 31 goals, 2 2pt goals and 19 assists for a total of 52 points (career high). He became the first Ohio player to either lead the league or tie for the league lead in points and he was selected to the All-Star Game for the fourth straight season. He tallied a season-best seven points on July 29 against the Lizards, tallying five goals, including a two-pointer, and one assist.

Obviously, those stats are not entirely indicative of Baum’s success over 2017, so head on over to the Peter? MVP? article we wrote earlier this week, where we broke down why the Colgate alum should be the league MVP.

Tom Schreiber – Nominated for Major League Lacrosse Coke-Cola Most Valuable Player

After the 2016 Coca-Cola MVP made his season debut on May 27, the Machine won seven of their last 10 regular season games and Schreiber averaged 4.4 points per game in that span with 18 goals and 26 assists. He tied Rob Pannell for the league lead in assists, becoming the first player to lead the league or tie for the league lead in assists with 10 games played or fewer since Ryan Boyle in 2010 (10 GP, 25 assists). He recorded at least four points in each of his first seven games this year and had a season-best seven points (2 goals, 5 assists) on June 2 at Chesapeake.

MLL Raises $48K For American Cancer Society in inaugural season

MLL Pink Challenge to continue in 2018

BOSTON (August 23, 2017) – Major League Lacrosse (MLL), the premier outdoor professional lacrosse league, announced today that a joint effort between the league, the players and the fans raised a grand total of $48,779.16 for the American Cancer Society during the 2017 season. American Cancer Society was named the first official league-wide charity of choice just prior to the start of the year.

“We are very pleased to make this donation to the American Cancer Society,” Commissioner David Gross said. “The first year of our partnership was an inspiring group effort that united all nine teams behind a single cause and we are very excited about growing our efforts next season.”

The fundraising kicked off in May with the MLL Pink Challenge, a variation of the American Cancer Society’s national fundraising program, Real Men Wear Pink. Atlanta Blaze longstick midfielder Scott Ratliff was named the Real Man of MLL after raising $8,121 towards the cause. Denver Outlaws midfielder Drew Snider finished just behind Ratliff in a race that came down to the final minutes, raising $7,198.

In total, the MLL Pink Challenge raised over $30,000 for the American Cancer Society and the Atlanta Blaze raised the most as a team with $9,319. The traditional Real Men Wear Pink program was created by the American Cancer Society to give men a greater presence in the fight against breast cancer. The campaign takes place in over 200 communities, mostly during the month of October. Real Men Wear Pink features a group of dedicated and distinguished community leaders who are determined to help save lives from breast cancer by committing to raise awareness and funds.

“We thank the passionate lacrosse community for partnering with us this year and helping us raise nearly $49,000 in support of our mission to lead the fight for a world without cancer,” said Sharon Byers, chief development and marketing officer, American Cancer Society. “We are honored to be the first official charity of Major League Lacrosse and look forward to continuing our partnership in the coming year. Together, we can beat our biggest rival and help support the match of our lives to help beat cancer.”

After the MLL All-Star Game, every player signed their game-worn jersey and auctioned them with all proceeds going towards American Cancer Society. Rob Pannell’s jersey fetched the largest payout at $926 dollars and the auction raised over $10,000 altogether.

The final fundraising effort took place during the MLL Playoffs, when team-issued Cascade R helmets were signed by every player on each team and auctioned. That effort raised just under $5,000, which was all donated toward American Cancer Society.

MLL and American Cancer Society will continue their partnership in 2018 and will look to continue the fight for a world without cancer.

About Major League Lacrosse

Major League Lacrosse (MLL), the premier professional outdoor lacrosse league, was founded by Jake Steinfeld and is headquartered in Boston. MLL has continued to lead the sport of lacrosse into the mainstream of competitive team sports over the past 17 years. The league is made up of nine teams: The Atlanta Blaze, Boston Cannons, Charlotte Hounds, Chesapeake Bayhawks, Denver Outlaws, Florida Launch, New York Lizards, Ohio Machine and Rochester Rattlers.

About the American Cancer Society

The American Cancer Society is a global grassroots force of 2 million volunteers saving lives in every community. As the largest voluntary health organization, the Society’s efforts have contributed to a 25 percent decline in the cancer death rate in the U.S. since 1991, driven by less smoking, better treatments, and earlier detection. We’re finding cures as the nation’s largest private, not-for-profit investor in cancer research, ensuring people facing cancer have the help they need and continuing the fight for access to quality health care, lifesaving screenings and more. For more information, to get help, or to join the fight, call us anytime, day or night, at 800-227-2345 or visit cancer.org.

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The Ohio Machine pose in front of the scoreboard after winning the MLL championship.
http://www.sunburynews.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/48/2017/09/web1_champions-ohio-machine.jpgThe Ohio Machine pose in front of the scoreboard after winning the MLL championship.

Staff Reports

Standings

Team Wins Losses Games Played

Machine 9-5 14

Outlaws 9-5 14

Rattlers 8-6 14

Launch 8-6 14

Bayhawks 7-7 14

Lizards 7-7 14

Hounds 6-8 14

Blaze 6-8 14

Cannons 3-11 14

Information for this story was provided by the Ohio Machine and Major League Lacrosse