MLL: Championship Game Preview and Information

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via MLL press release   (1) Ohio Machine vs. (3) Denver Outlaws Date: Saturday, August 20, 2016 Time: 7:00 p.m. ET Location:  Fifth Third Bank Stadium at Kennesaw State University Broadcast: CBS Sports Network Twitter: @MachineMLL, @DenverOutlaws #DENvsOHIO #MLLChamp GAMEDAY INFORMATION:  Location: Fifth Third Bank Stadium at Kennesaw State University Address: 3200 George Busbee Pkwy NW, Kennesaw, GA 30144 Box Office Opens: 3:00 PM ET Online Tickets can be purchased here. Fan Zone Opens: 4:00 PM ET *The following brands and groups will be on-site for Fan Zone activation: Coca-Cola, BSN, American Cancer Society, Warrior / Brine, Cascade / Maverik, Powerade, PT Solutions, Pinnacle, Wellstar, Blackfeet, Hedgehog, LAX World Full Fan Zone Map can be downloaded here.  Gates Open: 6:00 PM ET PREVIEW Disney and Hollywood screenwriters could not script up a more storybook finale. Halfway through the season, the Machine and Outlaws were moving in opposite directions. The Sheens, packed with one of the most lethal offensive units, were led by 2016 Coca-Cola MVP Tom Schreiber. In cage was Scotty Rodgers, who was having a breakout year and named to his first MLL All-Star Game (which he would become Coca-Cola Player of the Game). They were rocketing their way up the top of the standings in the League at 6-2. The Outlaws, on the other hand, were sitting at a measly 2-6 start and at the wrong end of the standings. While Rodgers excelled in cage for Ohio, Denver was struggling to find a defensive rhythm between the pipes. Then, a funny thing happened at the trade deadline. Denver traded John Grant Jr to Ohio to pick up goalkeeper Adam Fullerton and a few future draft picks. Cue the lacrosse world turning upside down as if Denver had essentially handed Ohio the secret formula to unlocking a Steinfeld Trophy. This wasn’t the only significant roster change as Denver started adding in rookies to their lineup. Goalie Jack Kelly, fresh off a NCAA tournament run with Brown, suited up in cage. Matt Kavanagh added balance on the offensive side of the ball and allowed Mike Bocklet to roam free on his dominant right-hand side. Bailey Tills added depth and quickness on the offense while BJ Grill added another groundball threat on defense. After Kelly got two MLL games under his belt, the rookie jitters disappeared and the winning streak began. First, Denver beat New York. Then they kept their momentum going through Florida, Atlanta, Charlotte, Rochester, and Charlotte again. Six straight regular season wins. Suddenly this 2-6 team became 8-6 and was in a seven-way tie for first place in the League. Through tiebreakers, they were in. Ohio, however, experienced some mid-season bumps in the road. Adding a dynamic player like John Grant Jr to your offensive lineup requires some adjustment. After dropping a few games, they eventually they found themselves in a must-win situation in the final regular season game against the New York Lizards. A win would ensure the top seed in the playoffs while a loss would ensure their departure. John Grant Jr used this game to show off a highlight reel performance by scoring 10 goals and breaking the MLL single-game scoring record previously held at nine goals. They were in. A balance between strong offense and strong defense propelled the Machine and Outlaws past the Semi-Finals and into the MLL Championship. Rodgers made 20 saves while Kelly made 19. John Grant Jr had a nine-point night (6G, 3A) while Mike Bockethad an eight-point night of his own (4G, 4A). Brian Karalunas swarmed the field, scooping up four groundballs. Rookie Kavanagh scored a career-high five goals against the 2015 Goalie of the Year in Drew Adams. So the matchup has been set, as if divine intervention stepped in to ensure a storybook ending to one of the most unpredictable MLL seasons to date. During this season, an expansion team took the field, seven of the nine teams tied for first place, the number one overall draft pick was traded, veteran John Grant Jr was traded and legend Casey Powell announced his retirement. After all of this, the eyes of the lacrosse world turn to Atlanta for the grand finale. The Denver Outlaws, the hottest team in the league, enter the Championship Game with seven straight wins. Their young and quick team is anchored between the pipes by 2016 Cascade Rookie of the Year, Kelly.  Standing between them and the Steinfeld Trophy is attackman and former teammate John Grant Jr, who is leading the Machine to the Championship just as he has done with his past teams. The Sheens also boast a league-leading seven all-stars, including Schreiber, 2016 MLL MVP. It’s going to be a star-studded affair and one that will, if it is anything like the regular season that preceded it, end in dramatic fashion. Tickets are still on sale and can be purchased HERE. CBS Sports Network will broadcast the game.   Denver Outlaws Preview Ohio Machine Preview