Ohio Machine and Denver Outlaws Advance to the MLL Championship Game

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via MLL press release, photo from LaxMagazine.Com  
Author’s Note:  A tale of two games.  The Denver-New York game was very intriguing and the Ohio-Charlotte game was pretty much a done deal early.  Charlotte never threatened in the second half as Ohio’s John Grant Jr. continued his hot run of late.  The Denver win continues a remarkable turnaround as Denver won their 7th straight game after starting the season 2-6 to take down the defending champions.  This sets up an amazing story line for the finals. As Denver was getting out to their slow start the Outlaws front office and coaching staff decided they wanted to go with their younger players and traded John Grant Jr. to Ohio for former Launch goalie Adam Fullerton in an attempt to fill a goalie void as well as open up a spot on the offense for their younger talent.  Frankly it looked like Denver was just making the change for two reasons . . . give the team a start on next year and give Grant Jr. another championship playoff run.  Little did either team expect the following two months to play out the way it has and now we get to see what the end result of what was seen as an accommodation turns out to be.  Denver’s season took off with the arrival of rookie goalie Jack Kelly from Brown following their Final Four run and Denver has never looked back.  Kelly was a 7th round pick in 2016, 57th overall, so once again the lesson is that in this league there are many players who just need a chance. When you look at Denver’s draft in January you find it very interesting . . . Matt Kavanaugh in Round One, BJ Grill in Round 5, Tim Barber in Round 6 and Kelly in Round 7 all played and contributed in the semi-finals while 2nd round pick Stephen Jahelka, 3rd round pick Matt Hossack and 4th round pick Sam Llinares really didn’t make an impact all season. Watching how this Denver team turned around is an interesting lesson to fans of the other teams, showing that a turnaround can come quickly if the right pieces fall into place.  With so much talent available throughout the sport it means one thing . . . if one group of professionals is not winning don’t be afraid to make a lot of changes.  Charlotte was able to do the same thing this season and make the playoffs.  If Denver wins the finals this will have repercussions for a long time to come.  
Boston, MA (August 13, 2016) – The Ohio Machine and Denver Outlaws have advanced to the MLL Championship Game following victories in the Semi-Finals. The Denver Outlaws became the first team to advance with a 20-17 victory over the New York Lizards in Fairfield, CT. The Ohio Machine clinched their spot in the Championship Game with a 16-10 victory over the Charlotte Hounds in Blaine, MN. (#1) Ohio Machine vs. (#3) Denver Outlaws in Atlanta, GA on August 20 at 7:00 p.m. ET Denver clinched their spot in the Championship with a 20-17 win over New York. Mike Bocklet led the Outlaws with eight points off four goals and four assists as he played at his Alma mater, Fairfield University. Jeremy Sieverts added six points (3G, 3A) while Matt Kavanagh added five goals. Rookie goalkeeper Jack Kelly was named the Coca-Cola Player of the Game. The Denver Outlaws enter the Championship Game with seven straight wins. The Ohio Machine clinched their spot in the Championship with a 16-10 win over the Charlotte Hounds. John Grant Jr. led the Machine with nine points off six goals and three assists while Marcus Holman added six points of his own (3G, 3A). John Grant Jr. was named the Coca-Cola Player of the Game for his performance. The Ohio Machine will play the Denver Outlaws at Fifth Third Bank Stadium at Kennesaw State University on Saturday, August 20 at 7:00 p.m. ET. This marks the third consecutive year that the MLL Champions will raise the Steinfeld Trophy in Atlanta, GA. Tickets for the 2016 Championship Game start at $20 for individual tickets. Tickets are available for the Championship Game at the event page  HERE. You can also find the tickets at  www.majorleaguelacrosse.com, or by calling 855-44-BLAZE.