Mounts ousted from Districts
TODD RUTH Review Sports Editor email@example.com
, Staff Writer
A year ago, Ephrata ended Carlisle’s dreams of a District Three title when the Mounts defeated the Thundering Herd, 8-5, in the championship game at Hersheypark Stadium.
Tuesday night, in the first round of Districts at Carlisle, the second-seeded Thundering Herd returned the favor with a 14-4 victory over the Mounts.
Leading 7-4 at the half, Carlisle outscored Ephrata 7-0 in the second half to pull away and advance. Carlisle will move on to face Penn Manor in the quarterfinals which are set for Thursday at Lower Dauphin, beginning at 5 p.m.
As for the Mounts, who came a long way this season after returning just a few key players from its L-L and District Three championship team from a year ago, they close out the season at 12-8.
"As a whole I’m pretty proud of the guys," Ephrata Coach Kevin Pletz said of the season just completed. "For being an unseasoned team with not much varsity experience, they definitely stepped up and above their potential from what was projected and had some really good wins throughout the season. I’m trying to take the positives out of it. We are only losing a handful of seniors so it’s going to be another good team next year."
Tuesday, Ephrata got off to a good start, thanks to junior goalie Justin Mease, who faced 15 first-half shots and saved eight.
Carlisle held a 2-1 lead after one quarter, but Ephrata’s Justin Hoover, who scored the first three Ephrata goals, netted the equalizer just 17 seconds in the the second to knot it at 2-2. The teams then traded scores to tie it at 3-3 before the Thundering Herd, who recently captured the Mid-Penn League championship, then scored three straight times to go up 6-3.
Ephrata’s Koty Keefer got one back before Carlisle’s Max Breschi, who scored six times Tuesday, put one in the net just before the half to give his team a 7-4 advantage heading to the locker room.
Unfortunately for the Mounts, that was as close as they would get as the Herd took advantage of a few Ephrata turnovers to notch three additional scores in the third to up the lead to 10-4. Then in the fourth, Carlisle poured it on with four more tallies to get the 14-4 end result.
"In the second half we started making some turnovers and mistakes that we didn’t make in the first half and kind of gave them the advantage," Pletz said. "They kept the intensity up and they basically took advantage of the opportunities that they had and capitalized on them."
Mease finished with 15 saves on the night.
The Ephrata goalie was also plenty busy last Wednesday night in the L-L Semifinals vs. Manheim Township in a game played at Hempfield. Unfortunately, despite a 20-save night for the junior, the regular season champion Streaks cruised to a 12-1 victory.
Tyler Karpinski scored five goals for Township, which went on to lose a 7-6 overtime thriller to Hempfield in the finals Friday night.
The Streaks outshot Ephrata 32-10, but Mease kept the Mounts in it early. The junior goalie, despite plenty of action in his end, kept the game scoreless through the game’s first six minutes before Karpinski quickly netted three goals late in the period to get the Streaks going.
Trailing 4-0 after one, Ephrata finally got on the scoreboard early in the second when Scott Gordon beat Alex Ready (9 saves) with 8:09 remaining on the clock. Unfortunately, that was all the offense Ephrata could muster on this night.
Meanwhile, Township goals by Drew Pinkerton, Davis Carr and Karpinski opened it up to 7-1 at the half, and the Streaks then put it away with four third-period goals to take a commanding 11-1 lead before coasting home in the fourth quarter.
"They were big, athletic and they put a lot of pressure on us," Pletz said of the Streaks. "Fundamentally, they played really well and we just couldn’t buy a goal tonight. We had some good opportunities but Ready played a heck of a game and he made some monstrous saves at key times."
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