The Charlotte Hounds on Saturday night dropped their 2014 MLL season opener 15-8 to the Ohio Machine in front of 5,097 fans at American Legion Memorial Stadium in Charlotte, NC. Machine midfielder Kyle Harrison was named Player of the Game following a four point (3g, 1a) performance. The Hounds were led by attacker Ryan Young, who tallied two goals and one assist.
The first quarter was dominated by the Machine on both ends of the field.
Matt Dolente won the opening faceoff and, after working the ball around, Harrison saw his shot and snuck one by Hounds goalie
Mike Gabel for the early 1-0 lead. The Machine rattled off another four goals while the Hounds’ possessions were marred by sloppy passes, wide shots and big saves by Machine goalie
Scott Rodgers. A sixth Machine goal – the second of the night for Harrison – with just 1.2 seconds left in the opening quarter forced the Hounds to make a goalie change to start the second.
Pierce Bassett stepped in cage and stopped the first three shots he saw, which seemed to spark some energy into the team, as
Mike Sawyer got down the field and fed
Matt White for the Hounds’ first goal 5:30 into the second quarter. The next six minutes went scoreless before
Peter Baum pushed the Machine lead to 7-1. But the Hounds responded, stringing together three straight goals – one each from Sawyer, White and Young – to close the gap to three at halftime.
Momentum stayed with the home team at the start of the third. Young scored his second straight, then
Joe Cummings cut the lead to one with his first goal as a Hound. But the Machine responded with a three goal run of their own – including two by
Jake Bernhardt - to reclaim a 10-6 lead with 6:23 left in the quarter. The teams then traded goals with Baum earning a hat trick as time ran out to give the Machine a 12-8 lead going in to the final quarter.
The Hounds’ rally fell short in the fourth, as the early hole proved too much to overcome. The Machine won the opening faceoff and immediately scored to increase their lead to 13-8. Rodgers stood tall in net, holding the Hounds scoreless in the final 15 minutes, as
Jim Connolly and
Kevin Cooper added one goal each to account for the 15-8 final. Rodgers finished the game with a total of 23 saves, while Bassett had 12 in relief. The Machine also dominated at the faceoff X, as Dolente came away with 17-27 draws.
This is the third straight year the Hounds have opened the season 0-1. But they have a chance to bounce back next week, May 3, against the Florida Launch at FAU Stadium in Boca Raton. The Launch also lost their season opener on Saturday night, falling 14-10 to the Denver Outlaws.
complete box score for this game.