After a cold and rainy game, it’s the Rochester Rattlers who will be heading to Atlanta next week, following an exciting 15-11 come back win over the Ohio Machine. Rochester gained the No. 1 seed after their impressive 2014 season, losing only 4 times. However, two of those losses came to tonight’s opponent, Ohio, which made for a highly anticipated first semi-final match up. Ohio came into the game on a 5-game win streak, gaining a spot in the playoffs for the first time in program history. The Rattlers will now travel to Fifth Third Bank Stadium in Kennesaw, Ga. to face the Denver Outlaws, who defeated the New York Lizards 14-13 in the other semifinal, in the 2014 MLL Championship Game on August 23 at 7 p.m. Tickest start at just $20 and can be found HERE.
Ohio took an early lead during the first quarter, kicked off after a goal by 2014 MLL goals leader, Marcus Holman (37g). Warrior Goalie of the Year John Galloway came up with a big save a minute later, but unfortunately couldn’t hold on to the rebound, which was knocked in like a slap shot by Logan Schuss, his first of many points during the first frame. It was Mark Cockerton who put the Rattlers on the board after Ohio had held a 4-0 lead, and Kevin Leveille scored shortly after, to cut the lead to only two, on a behind the back bounce pass from Miles Thompson. Despite Dave Lawson adding his first ever playoff goal, the Machine found the net twice more, going into the second quarter leading 6-3.
Rochester found some fire to start the second, and cut the lead to only one after a speedy crease roll by Jordan Wolf. Peter Baum got on the board with a power play goal after a 30-second technical on Lawson, making it 7-5 Ohio. Lawson came back onto the field with vengeance, scoring on a low to high rip from outside, but Baum brought the Ohio lead back to two with a goal 30-seconds later. The Machine went into halftime leading the #1 seeded Rattlers, 8-6.
Going into the second half, it seemed like Ohio would keep hold of their advantage. Baum came out with a quick goal, giving the visiting Machine a three-goal lead. The rest of third quarter was a back and forth battle between the two teams. Leveille scored his second of the quarter, followed by another crease play from Wolf, cutting the Ohio lead to only one goal. Long stick defenseman Brian Farrell stopped the Rochester momentum with a goal off the face off 10 seconds later, but Leveille fired back again with 1:16 left in the quarter, cutting Ohio’s lead to 11-10. Rochester had another scoring opportunity, but were stopped after a big save by Brian Phipps, ending the quarter with Ohio still holding the one-goal lead.
However, Rochester would not go down without a fight. They went on a 5-0 run during the fourth quarter, keeping the Machine scoreless for the remainder of the game. It was Coca Cola Player of the Game Leveille who kicked off the scoring run, tying the game at 11. Justin Turri scored the go ahead goal with just over 6 minutes left to play, followed by a diving goal by Wolf to put Rochester up by two. Thompson would score shortly after, his first of the game, which was sealed by Leveille’s 6th goal of the night with just 3 minutes left to play.