Ashdod earns praise with 2-3 finish at New Years Cup

BUDAPEST, HUNGARY — Ashdod LC made an admirable debut in their first-ever international tournament, as the young squad secured wins over experienced men’s teams from Germany (Tribesmen Erlangen) and Switzerland (Toblerone LC) at the eighth annual New Years Cup at Vasas Sports Center.

Ashdod finished with a 2-3 record, good for sixth place out of the eight-team field. The result is viewed locally as an extremely successful showing for a roster composed of nearly all homegrown players who are newcomers to the sport.

On Friday, Lidor Ashtamkar scored two goals and two assists, including the game-winner, to help Ashdod secure a 7-5 victory — their first ever international win — over the Erlangen Tribesman. The German club got on the board in the first minute, before the Israelis scored twice to take a 2-1 advantage. Trailing 3-2 in the third quarter, Ashtamkar kicked off a four-goal run to take the lead for good. Jake Plantowsky had two goals and one assist, while Yaakov Silberlicht (two goals), Alon Bechor (one goal) and Frantisek Klima (one assist) also cracked the scoresheet. Vova Behunov (40:00, 7 saves, 5 GA) earned the win in goal.

Ashdod LC faced off against Swiss club Toblerone LC, earning a nail-biting 6-5 victory.
Ashdod LC faced off against Swiss club Toblerone LC, earning a nail-biting 6-5 victory.

Later in the tournament, the Dolphins strung together a second straight win as Mor Cohen scored twice to lead Ashdod past Toblerone LC, 6-5. The Swiss club jumped out to an early 2-0 lead before David Geber answered back to put the Israelis on the board. Silberlicht (one goal, two assists), Bechor (one goal), Plantowsky (one goal), and Ashtamkar (one assist) also chipped in on offense, while Behunov (40:00, 3 saves, 5 GA) earned the win between the pipes.

Earlier Friday, the Vienna Monarchs topped Ashdod, 8-3. Bechor, Klima and Plantowsky scored singles, while Silberlicht added an assist. Behunov (40:00, 8 saves, 8 GA) was dealt the loss in goal against the Austrian club. Ashdod opened the tournament with a 10-0 setback against the host Budapest Blax. Behunov (40:00, 7 saves, 10 GA) was dealt the loss in goal. The Dolphins wrapped up their tournament with a 7-2 setback to Poland. Cohen scored once, while Silberlicht added one goal and one assist. Behunov (40:00, 4 saves, 7 GA) was dealt the loss in goal.

The tournament experience for the Israeli squad is invaluable, as many of the young Dolphins are hoping to earn spots on Ashdod’s IPLL roster as call-ups this summer.

Caps (x5): Erez Aboushaira, Lidor Ashtamkar, Ori Bar David, Alon Bechor, Vova Behunov, Ronen Bisyakov, Mor Cohen, David Geber, Afik Ibgui, Frantisek Klima, Seth Mahler, Ofir Nissim, Matan Noam, Arthur Perelman, Jake Plantowsky, Niv Schneor, Yakov Silberlicht