Ephrata gets offensive vs. CC

By on April 22, 2015
Ephrata’s Kyle Lindberg (left) and Mason Klaus (28) guard in front of the Mountaineer net. (Photo by Dwight Palm)

Ephrata’s Kyle Lindberg (left) and Mason Klaus (28) guard in front of the Mountaineer net. (Photo by Dwight Palm)

For the first time in several seasons, Ephrata entered this season without that established “shutdown” defender.

With so many new faces on the back end, if the Mounts were going to enjoy their normal success, they would have to out-score teams more so than ever.

They certainly had the offense cranking Monday night in a key L-L League contest at home vs. Cedar Crest. With the top half of the standings getting tighter each day, Ephrata delivered a big 20-15 victory over the Falcons.

Attackers Justin Hoover, Brandon Adams and Dustin Fisher combined for 18 of the 20 Ephrata goals to gradually pull away from the Falcons and notch the key win.

“I think we finally had some real good offensive continuity going for us,” first-year Ephrata Coach Eric Bensing said of the output by the offense. “We were valuing our possessions a lot more and we weren’t throwing the ball away. We kind of had problems with that during some of our past games, but we did a much better job of taking care of the ball. The attack group really stepped up and kind of took command of the offensive end. We knew going in that their middies were relatively athletic so we wanted to try to work the ball more to our attack and attack them from there.”

With the victory, combined with Cocalico’s 10-8 upset win over L-S Tuesday, the Mounts (6-2 league, 7-5 overall) now find themselves tied with Warwick for third place behind front-runners Hempfield (9-0) and Manheim Township (8-0) with four league games remaining. L-S is lurking right behind Ephrata and Warwick at 6-3.

More on the standings later.

Monday, Hoover led the way with seven goals and four assists while Adams scored six goals and added three helpers. Fisher finished with five goals and a pair of assists in the win.

It was the formula Ephrata needed as the Mounts out-shot the Falcons, 44-34.

Ryan Holochuck and Noah Roark also found the net for Ephrata while Austin Sensenig dished out six assists on the night to round out the offensive stars for Ephrata, which led 11-7 at the half.

“For this group, and we’ve talked about it all year, our offense needs to value every possession and we have to control the game with our offense,” Bensing said. “Plain and simple, our defense is good enough to play with most teams, but they sometimes struggle to hold up against these top-tier offenses. So if we are not having good offensive possessions and controlling the clock with our offense, and we are continuing to transition back to defense, it becomes increasingly difficult to stop other teams from scoring. Then in turn, us having enough time that we can score at the offensive end. That’s been (the key to our success) from Day One. We have to out-work teams and continue to control the tempo of the game with our offense.”

While the Mounts would own one of the four league playoff spots if the season would end today, it’s far from a sure thing with games vs. Warwick Monday for the Ream Cup, and Manheim Township (April 30) looming. Throw in a non-league biggie at Mid-Penn leader Cumberland Valley Saturday and the Mounts have a difficult road ahead.

“We knew when we saw the schedule that we would be having a real tough stretch of road games,” Bensing said. “Cumberland Valley is undefeated in Mid-Penn play and is a real tough team. And we know going into next Monday’s game with Warwick, it’s their Senior Night, it’s a battle for the Ream Cup and my guys always want to win that game. They don’t want to lose the Ream Cup so I’m optimistic that we are going to come out with a lot of fire. We got to get through that game and then we’ll have our Senior Night against Mennonite (next Tuesday), and then the big one at the end of the year against Township. We know we are going to have our hands full with those guys.”

“We are taking it one game at a time and we really don’t want to look past anybody,” he continued. “But if we can get the kind of performance that we had (Monday), and get a few stops on the defensive end I think we’ll be OK.”

Monday’s win was big, especially since the Mounts were coming off a pair of tough losses.

This past Saturday at Dallastown in a non-league contest, the host Wildcats led 8-4 at the half and held on for a 17-13 victory over the Mounts.

Hoover scored six goals and added two assist to lead the Ephrata offense. Colin Cammauf, Fisher and Sensenig all added two scores each while Adams tallied as well to go along with a team-leading three assists.

Ephrata was out-shot 53-23 with goalie Kyle Lindberg making 17 saves on the day.

Last Thursday at Hempfield, the Mounts were held scoreless in the second half as the host Black Knights cruised to a 19-5 win over Ephrata.

Cammauf scored a pair of goals to lead Ephrata, which was out-shot 41-15.

Hoover, Sensenig and Adams scored the other Mountaineer goals while Lindberg made 13 stops.

As for Cocalico, the Eagles rebounded from a 19-1 loss Friday at the hands of Manheim Township to earn perhaps their two most impressive wins on the seasons.

Monday night at home, the Eagles turned back Berks County power Governor Mifflin, 9-8 in a non-league contest.

Tuesday night, Cocalico followed that up with a 10-8 win over Lampeter-Strasburg.

The Eagles (4-4 league, 8-5 overall) got three goals each from Devon Delpiano, Brett Kupp and Matt Weinhold while goalie Ben Puodziunas made 26 big saves to key the victory.

In Monday’s win over the Mustangs, Weinhold’s only goal of the contest with 4:22 to play turned out to be the game winner.

Kupp had a team-high three goals while Justin Marderness, Nick Harbst, Bryce Shaffer, Doug Quinn, Kegerise and Weinhold also tallied for the winners.

Puodziunas made 18 saves in net to earn the victory.

In the 19-1 loss to Township on Friday, Delpiano scored the lone Cocalico goal against the unbeaten Streaks, who out-shot the Eagles, 40-5.

Up next, the Eagles host Garden Spot Thursday at 7 p.m. before hitting the road next Monday to battle Elizabethtown (7 p.m.).

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