Mounts’ comeback stuns Carlisle, hands Herd first loss
Down 8-4 and facing one of the best teams in the area Saturday, things obviously didn’t look too good for Ephrata heading to the fourth quarter of the Mounts showdown with unbeaten Carlisle.
But the Mounts, who are tied atop the L-L League standings with Manheim Township, certainly didn’t panic.
They scored a goal, and then another, and carried the play the majority of the final 12 minutes. Then trailing 9-8 in the final minute, Justin Hoover got the equalizer before Koty Keefer cashed in on the game winner with just seconds to play as the Mounts completed the unlikely comeback and stunned the Thundering Herd, 10-9.
“Going into the fourth quarter we just had keep playing,” Ephrata Coach Kevin Pletz said of his team’s big win. “I told them, ‘this game is a game of momentum, and we had to catch some momentum…to their credit that was one of the best 12 minutes I’ve seen them play all season. They were hard on the ball, hard on ground balls, took care of the ball and finished it when they needed to have a nice little comeback win.”
Keefer scored just that one goal, but it was obviously huge as the Mounts out-scored Carlisle 6-1 in the fourth. Colin Cammauf and Austin Sensenig both had three goals each to lead Ephrata, while Hoover found the net twice. Justin Mease made nine stops in goal as each team collected 28 shots.
“It was a big statement for us,” Pletz said of the win. “Carlisle is a fantastic team. They are one of the best, if not the best in the Mid-Penn League…so to take a ‘W’ from them gives us a little more confidence when we come up against some other big teams. Hopefully we’ll use that to give us a little bit of momentum to keep us rolling.”
Ephrata (8-0 league, 10-3 overall) faces perhaps its biggest test of the season Friday night at 7 p.m. at home when the Mounts will battle Manheim Township (7-0, 8-1) with first place on the line, assuming they get past Cedar Crest Wednesday evening at home (7 p.m.).
Pletz was asked to look ahead to the matchup with Township.
“It’s going to come down to minimizing mistakes,” he said. “Whoever minimizes mistakes is going to win the game. I feel we match up well. We have one of the best offenses in the league, if not the best when they want to be, and Township has one of the best defenses. It’s going to be who takes care of the ball better and who takes care of their opportunities and gets them in the back of the net.”
Ephrata almost let one slip away Monday afternoon at Lampeter-Strasburg. The Pioneers led 5-2 at the half before the Mounts outscored them 6-2 down the stretch to pull out an 8-7 victory.
Keefer scored five of the Ephrata goals while Hoover added two and Andy Moore one in the one-goal win. Mease had five saves to help Ephrata survive the scare.
“We ground it out for the win and at the end of the day that’s what really matters, regardless how pretty it was,” Pletz said.
Ephrata also was in action last Thursday at home vs. E-town where the Mounts scored early and often in a one-sided 19-7 triumph over the Bears.
Keefer led the way with six goals while both Sensenig and Cammauf scored four apiece. Hoover added three tallies while Jeremy Kachel and Ryan Holochuck also found the net.
As for Cocalico, the Eagles dropped a pair of games this past week to fall to 4-4 in league play (7-6 overall).
Last Thursday at home, visiting Warwick led 5-2 at the half before scoring six times in the third to break open an eventual 15-8 decision over the Eagles.
Brett Kupp scored five of the eight Cocalico goals while Aaron Longstaff and Mike Reitenbach also tallied.
Ben Puodziunas faced 43 Warwick shots in the Cocalico goal, and made 10 saves.
The Eagles were also on the losing end of a 16-12 decision last Wednesday at Penn Manor.
Kupp and Devon Delpiano each scored four times for Cocalico, which also got scores from Longstaff (2), Zach Anderson and Kody Dale.
Puodziunas made nine stops in the Eagle net.
Up next, Cocalico travels to Lampeter-Strasburg Thursday (7 p.m.) before hitting the road Monday to face Lancaster Catholic.