Mounts look ahead to playoffs after loss to Manheim Township
By: TODD RUTH Review Sports Editor email@example.com, Staff Writer
Whatever the reason, Ephrata did not look the poised, talented team most picked to win it all when defending League champion Manheim Township came to town Thursday night with first place on the line.
Township was the team with the extra bounce in its step, took advantage of 10 man down situations and walked out of Mountaineer Field with a 10-9 victory.
"We just didn’t play up to our potential," Ephrata Coach Kevin Pletz said of the loss. "We had all of those man downs and that didn’t help the situation either. But overall, it wasn’t our best game by any means. I don’t know if it was a little bit of an intimidation factor or we just didn’t come out to play. Either way, we just didn’t get it done."
That’s the bad news.
The good news is Ephrata has a very good chance to see the Blue Streaks again come playoff time, which by then Pletz hopes to rectify what went wrong Thursday.
"We always try to find the positives in everything," he said. "We look at that as a learning experience for us. It’s better to happen in the season than once the playoffs are here. It gave us a chance to make some adjustments and changes and move forward and grow stronger as a team.
"We didn’t get them the first time but I’m almost positive we are going to see them again, if not once but maybe even twice if we see them the district playoffs. They are a great team, but it gives us an opportunity to gain some redemption on them."
Township started quickly in this one, building a 3-1 advantage in the first quarter, aided by two scores with Ephrata a man down. Ephrata (11-1 league, 14-2 overall) did tie the game at 3-3, however, as Evan Hornberger and Tucker Keefer both found the net by quarter’s end.
But Township (12-0, 13-4) forged in front again, outscoring Ephrata 3-2 in the period to take a 6-5 lead into the half. Ryan Morgan’s goal with less than two minutes to play broke the 5-5 tie, and the Streaks came out smoking in the third with two quick goals in a man up situation after Ephrata was called for using an illegal stick.
However, after falling behind 8-5, the Mounts answered with a 3-0 spurt of their own to tie the game back up at 8-8 early in the fourth. Hornberger, Tucker Keefer and Joey Sellers all found the net on that run and Ephrata seemed poised to take a lead.
Unfortunately, it was Township which answered with two goals 12 seconds apart to regain the advantage at 10-8. Tucker Keefer did cut the deficit to one with 46 seconds to go. However, the Streaks won the ensuing face-off and held on for the big victory.
For the game, Tucker Keefer and Hornberger led Ephrata with four goals each. Dillon O’Dell scored three to lead the Streaks.
Ephrata’s Brian Neff made nine stops in net.
The sting of the loss to Township did not last long for Ephrata, which was back in action Friday at Lancaster Mennonite where the Mounts posted a 14-0 shutout victory.
Sellers collected three goals and added four assists to pace the Mounts. Tucker Keefer added three tallies while Justin Hoover chipped in with two.
Ephrata outshot LMH, 36-6, as Neff was forced to make one official save to earn the shutout.
The Mounts also were in action Tuesday night at Cocalico where they posted a 15-2 victory over the Eagles.
Ephrata jumped out to an 11-2 half-time lead before cruising in the second half. Hornberger, Dakota Keefer and Tucker Keefer all scored four goals apiece for the Mounts, who also got tallies from Quickel (2) and Sellers.
Neff made 10 saves for Ephrata.
Nick Brown and Ryen Forry scored the Cocalico goals. Dan Bucolo registered 11 saves in the loss for the Eagles.
In addition to Tuesday game with Ephrata, Cocalico also was in action last Friday at LCD/Lancaster Catholic where the host team claimed a 13-7 victory.
Cocalico (6-9 overall) led 5-4 at the half before being outscored 9-2 in the second half.
Josh Richardson and Brown both scored three goals each to lead the Eagles, who also got a goal from Mitch Shober.
Bucolo made 10 saves in the Eagles’ net in the season finale for Cocalico.
Ephrata closes the regular season with non-league matches Wednesday at Carlisle (5:30 p.m.) and Thursday at home vs. Lower Dauphin (4:15 p.m.). More BOYS LAX, page B-5
Posted: May 2nd, 2012 under Sports.