Game 12: Chicago Machine (4-7) at Denver Outlaws (7-4)
August 7, 2010 | 3:02 p.m.
INVESCO Field at Mile High | Denver, Colo.
Chicago Game Notes | Denver Game Notes | Live Stats | ESPN3.com
DENVER, Colo. - Hoping to end its season on a positive note, the Chicago Machine will make its second trip to INVESCO Field at Mile High on Saturday afternoon to face the Denver Outlaws in the regular season finale for both teams. Opening face-off is slated for 3:02 p.m. EST.
The game will air live on ESPN3.com and via the radio on 101.5 FM "The Truth" in Denver. In addition, it will be shown via tape delay on Universal Sports, Brighthouse Sports and Cox Sports New Orleans.
Now 4-7 on the season, the Machine was eliminated from MLL Championship Weekend consideration last Saturday following a 20-12 loss against the Chesapeake Bayhawks at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium. The win allowed the Bayhawks to secure their first postseason appearance since the 2005 season when they won the MLL title.
It was also the Machine's fourth straight loss after a 4-3 start to the season, which included a victory over the Outlaws on June 25 in Rochester.
Rookie attackman Ned Crotty, who leads the MLL in assists and points among rookies, tallied a season-high six points in the loss against Chesapeake. He scored two goals and contributed a season-high four assists in a losing effort. Meanwhile, midfielder Josh Sims tallied a "hat trick" by scoring three goals with an assist.
The Machine, which tried to secure its first-ever play-off berth last week, trailed by just two points at the intermission. However, Chesapeake scored ten points in the third quarter to pull away and defeat the Machine to earn the play-off spot.
Attackman Mike Leveille leads the Machine's offense with 21 goals and 13 assists. The fourth-leading scorer in the MLL with 34 points, he was held without a point for the first time this season in the loss against the Bayhawks last week.
Meanwhile, attackman Kevin Leveille is tied for fifth in the MLL with 33 points after being held to just one goal last week. He leads the Machine with 24 goals and has also contributed nine assists.
Goalkeeper Bud Petit ranks sixth in the MLL with a 13.76 goals against average while stopping 52.3 per cent of the shots he has faced. Goalkeeper Mike Gabel, who has started the last two games, has a 13.78 goals against average along with a .474 save percentage.
Currently 7-4 on the season, the Outlaws are looking to rebound from a devastating 16-5 setback against the Boston Cannons last Saturday night at INVESCO Field. The five points scored by the Outlaws tied the MLL record for fewest points scored in a game. In addition, the Outlaws secured the second seed in MLL Championship Weekend as a result of last weekís loss.
The Outlaws, which outshot the Cannons by a 47-44 margin in the loss, were outscored by a 10-2 margin in the second half.
Midfielder Dan Hardy led the Outlaws in the loss by scoring two goals while attackman Drew Westervelt contributed a pair of assists in the loss. Meanwhile, goalkeeper Jesse Schwartzman made 14 saves, including 10 in the first half, for the Outlaws.
Attackman Brendan Mundorf is the Outlawsí leading scorer with 18 goals and 15 assists. He is tied for fifth in the MLL with 33 points and leads the Outlaws with 71 shots. Meanwhile, Westervelt and Hardy have each tallied 28 points. Westervelt has scored 16 goals, including three two-point goals, with nine assists while Hardy has 15 goals, including a two-point marker, with 12 assists.
Schwartzman has played in 10 of the Outlaws' 11 games this season. He ranks third in the MLL with a 12.73 goals against average while his .524 save percentage rates fourth in the MLL. He had a season-high 17 saves against the Bayhawks on June 19 and contributed 16 saves against Chesapeake on July 4.
The Outlaws and the Machine will be meeting for the third time this season and each team has won once. After Chicago posted an 18-14 victory at Marina Auto Stadium on June 25, the Outlaws exacted revenge two weeks ago with a 15-11 decision at INVESCO Field.
Denver leads the all-time series by a 9-4 margin and has won two of the last three outings between the two teams.
While Saturday will mark the season finale for the Machine, Denver will compete in MLL Championship Weekend presented by Warrior, which is slated for August 21 and 22 at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium. The Outlaws have secured the second seed and will play either Long Island or Chesapeake in the semi-finals.
Give and take - The Machine and the Outlaws have alternated wins in each of the last six meetings between the two teams. Denver won six of the first seven meetings against Chicago before the current six-game split.
You always remember your first - The Machineís 19-17 victory over Denver on June 2, 2007 marked the first-ever win in Chicagoís history.
30 rock - Attackman Kevin Leveille has scored 34 goals in 12 career games against the Outlaws; he has recorded 43 points in those games. He had four goals with an assist in the first meeting this season.
Lucky seven - In the first meeting against the Outlaws on June 25, attackman Mike Leveille scored a career-high five goals and tallied seven points to earn Bud Light MVP honors. He was also named as the MLLís Offensive Player of the Week for his effort.
Home run - The home team has won 10 of the previous 13 meetings in the Denver-Chicago series.
Rocky mountain low - The Machine has lost six of its seven visits to INVESCO Field at Mile High following the setback two weeks ago; Chicago's only win at Denver came on May 16, 2009 in a 13-11 victory.
Welcome home - Saturdayís game between the Outlaws and the Machine will mark a homecoming of sorts for midfielder Josh Sims, who was acquired by Chicago earlier this season in a trade with Toronto. Sims played four seasons in Denver and scored 42 goals for the Outlaws.
Connect four - The Machine set a team record by posting its fourth win of the season against Denver on June 25; Chicago posted a 3-9 record in each of the last three years after an 0-12 record in 2006.
Not so hot July - The Machine lost all four of its games during the month of July and was limited to just 49 goals in those four games. Chicago was outscored, 65-50, in the four losses.
Not so perfect 10 - The Machine allowed a season-high 10 points in the third quarter against Chesapeake last week in its 20-12 loss; it is the first time Chicago has allowed 10 or more points in a single quarter since allowing 10 points in the third quarter against the Bayhawks on June 27, 2009 in a 16-14 loss. The Machine has allowed 10 or more points in a quarter five times in its five-year history.
Goose eggs - Attackman Mike Leveille was held without a point for the first time this season in last weekís loss against Chesapeake; it snapped a streak of nine straight games with a goal and a streak of 28 straight games with a point. He was also held without a point on June 14, 2008 in a loss against the Philadelphia Barrage.
First strike - The Machine has scored the gameís first goal an MLL-high eight times this season. Chicago has a 3-5 record when scoring first this season.
Halfway there - The Machine has held a half-time lead in 6 of its 11 games this season, including three of the last four outings. However, Chicago has lost four of those games.
A helping hand - Entering Saturday's games, the Machine leads the league with 83 assists in 11 games. Attackman Mike Leveille is tied for fifth in the MLL with 13 assists, including nine assists in his last six outings.
Point taken - The Machine also leads the MLL with 232 points in 11 games this season. However, the Machine has been limited to 33 points (23 goals, 10 assists) in the last two games.
Multiplicity - Midfielder Josh Sims has tallied multiple points in all eight of his games this year; he also enters Saturday's game with a nine-game goal-scoring streak, dating back to last season.
Hats off to you - Midfielder Josh Sims tallied a season-high three goals in the loss at Chesapeake last week; it was his first "hat trick" since a three-goal effort against the Machine on June 7, 2009.
30-something - Attackmen Kevin Leveille and Mike Leveille are ranked among the MLLís scoring leaders and have each tallied at least 30 points this season; Mike Leveille is fourth in the league with 34 points (21+13) while Kevin Leveille has 33 points (24+9), which is tied for fifth in the league.
Road worries - The Machine have just two wins in true road games in the team's five-year history. In addition, attackman Kevin Leveille has scored just five of his team-high 24 goals in the teamís five road games so far this season.
From way downtown - Rookie attackman Ned Crotty was the winner in the two-point accuracy contest during the Bud Light MLL Skills Competition during half-time of the MLL All-Star Game on July 8. Crotty was one of nine Chicago players to participate in the annual exhibition.
20-20 - Attackman Mike Leveille has tallied 20 points in his last five games, scoring 13 goals with 7 assists. He tallied three goals with an assist against Long Island on July 10.
Century mark - Attackman Mike Leveille reached the 100-point mark for his career with a seven-point effort against Denver on June 25; entering this week's game against Denver, he has scored 63 goals with 49 assists in 32 career games.
Mister assister - Rookie attackman Ned Crotty has recorded all 12 of his assists in his last five games. He tied a season high with four assists against Chesapeake last week.
Centennial - The Machine ranks second in the MLL this season with 149 goals; Boston has scored a league-high 160 goals in 11 games this year.
Staying inside - The Machine has scored just four two-point goals this season, which is the fewest in the league. The Machine has not tallied a two-point goal since midfielder Doug Shanahan scored from two-point range against Long Island on July 3.
Power outage - The Machine continue to lead the MLL with an .795 penalty killing percentage and has allowed just eight power-play goals this season. Chicago has allowed one power-play goal in each of its last three games.
Power outage, part 2 - The Machine has a chance to post one of the highest penalty killing percentages in MLL history; entering Saturdayís games, the .795 penalty killing percentage ranks fourth in MLL single-season history.
Powerful play - The Machine leads the MLL with a .413 power play percentage and ranks second in the league with 19 power-play goals; in addition, attackman Kevin Leveille ranks second in the MLL with five power-play goals.
On our best behavior - The Machine has been called for the fewest penalty minutes this season in Major League Lacrosse. After being flagged for a season-low 30 seconds in penalties last week, Chicago has been called for 33.0 penalty minutes in 11 games, a 3.00 average.
On second thought - The Machine leads the MLL with 46 goals in the second quarter this season; Chicago scored four goals in the loss against Chesapeake last week.
Third rock - The Machine has also allowed the most goals in the third quarter this season. Entering Saturday's season finale, the Machine has allowed 48 goals in 11 games.
Overtime is not our time - The Machine is now 0-8 all-time in overtime games following its 13-12 setback against Long Island on July 3; it was also the Machine's fifth straight loss against the Lizards.