Scandinavian Cup: Stockholm Mean Machines earn solid win over Oslo Vikings, stay unbeaten in group play

In the second round of play in the Scandinavian Cup this past weekend, the Stockholm Mean Machines found themselves in an unexpected battle against Norway’s Oslo Vikings, but a third quarter scoring spree dashed the hopes of the Norwegian visitors, and the Mean Machines came away with a convincing 39-17 victory.

Much of the damage was done by Stockholm’s versatile receiver Matt Retzlaff who baffled the Vikings secondary repeatedly, finding the end zone four times.

After a quiet first half, Retzlaff came alive in the final two quarters making six of his eight catches and scoring three of his touchdowns as Stockholm pulled away after taking a 13-3 halftime lead.

Quarterback Mark Pappas was an efficient 17 of 22 for 185 yards and five touchdowns while Retzlaff caught eight of those passes for 94 yards and scored four of those touchdowns. Johan Hallgren chipped in five catches for 37 yards and a touchdown while Robin Gavelin Miranda had two catches for 45 yards while also booting three extra points. Running back Oliwer Stedt led all rushers with 17 carries for 84 yards.

Stockholm Mean Machines QB Mark Pappas throwing one of his 21 passes in the win over the Oslo Vikings from Norway Photo: Stefan Akander

For Oslo, quarterback Jesber Johnsen completed 19 of 41 passes for 180 yards and one touchdown with Frederik Fjeldseth catching six passes for 68 yards and Linn Byrd six for 54. Jesper Jørgensen rushed for 46 yards on nine carries. Fjeldseth kicked the field goal for Oslo while Matteo Parise caught a touchdown pass and Johannes Nilsson scored on a one-yard run.

It was the Vikings who took the lead first though as Johnsen marched Oslo on a methodical 15-play, 66-yard drive that ate up just under six minutes before stalling at the nine-yard line with Fjeldseth kicking a 26-yard field goal.

Stockholm struck back on the next possession as Pappas led his team down to the Vikings three-yard line before connecting with Hallgren to give his team a 7-3 lead, still in the first quarter. Neither team could gain any momentum until the Mean Machines found the end zone again with four minutes left in the half. Stedt did much of the damage on an 80-yard drive which Pappas finished off with a four-yard touchdown pass to Retzlaff, who had been quiet for much of the half, to extend the lead to 13-3 at the break.

The third quarter changed the tone of the game as the Mean Machines scored three unanswered touchdowns while neutralizing the Oslo offense. Retzlaff hauled in a three-yard scoring pass from Pappas on the first drive of the second half and then Alpha Jalloh took Oslo’s first punt of the second half 81 yards to the end zone. Suddenly, Stockholm had grabbed a 26-3. With the Vikings bottled up in their own end, a failed fourth down attempt gave the Mean Machines the ball at the Oslo 35-yard line. Pappas made no mistake hitting Retzlaff for a 30-yard score two plays later to up the lead to 32-3 as the third quarter ended.

Oslo Vikings QB Jesber Johnsen evading a Stockholm defender Photo: Stefan Akander

The fourth quarter saw the Vikings score back-to-back touchdowns thanks to excellent field position. Johnsen hit Parise for a one-yard score and then Nilsson punched the ball in from one yard out to reduce the lead to 32-17 with four minutes left.

The Mean Machines were not done though as Pappas marched his team from his own 45-yard line after a failed squib kick from Oslo. He made no mistake capping a six-play drive with a 25-yard touchdown pass to Retzlaff.

With the win, Stockholm has a stranglehold on Group B with a 2-0 record and one game remaining.

In other games, Denmark’s Aalborg 89ers evened their record in Group A at 1-1 after beating the Kristiansand Gladiators from Norway 27-21 and Sweden’s Carlstad Crusaders downed the Eidsvoll 1814s from Norway 43-14 to improve to 1-1 in Group B.




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