Ashkelon punches ticket, Ashdod shocks Be’er Sheva at Kiryat Gat Festival

KIRYAT GAT, ISRAEL — Ben Gleichenhaus made 13 saves as Ashkelon LC staved off a furious Haifa comeback to earn a 9-8 win, clinching the fourth and final spot in the Israel Premier Lacrosse League (IPLL) playoffs on Thursday at Kiryat Gat Synthetic.

Gleichenhaus (60:00, 13 saves, 8 GA) earned the win in goal as Ashkelon — who led 9-5 with six minutes left — hung on to secure the playoff-clinching win. Haifa scored three goals in the final 5:35 to trim the score to 9-8, but could not get the elusive game-tying goal.

League-leading scorer Bryan Rotatori added another three goals for Ashkelon, while Jarett Grenen added three and Lucas Gradinger chipped in two.

Dan Kravitt led Haifa with three goals and two assists, while Thed Bergman (60:00, 19 saves, 9 GA) shined between the pipes.

Ashkelon (3-2) will meet Sderot (3-2) in the IPLL semifinals on Tuesday at Wolfson Fields in Tel Aviv.

Haifa (3-2) drops to the #4 seed and will meet top-ranked Be’er Sheva (4-1) in the other semifinal.

Later in the day, Jason Bram scored four goals and two assists as Be’er Sheva suffered their first loss of the season in a 10-9 setback to Ashdod.

Jordan Canter and JJ Pickard added two goals apiece, with Jordan Eicholz (60:00, 13 saves, 9 GA) scoring the victory in goal.

Lane Kadish led Be’er Sheva with four goals and two assists, with Eric Fischer chipping in two goals and one assist.

Ashdod (2-3) meets Barak Netanya (2-3) in a highly-anticipated consolation semifinal in Tel Aviv on Tuesday.

Graham Goldheim made 19 saves as Barak Netanya earned their second win of the season in an 11-6 shocker over Sderot.

Goldheim (60:00, 19 saves, 6 GA) had one of the most impressive days in league history for a goaltender, while Dan Applebaum and Josh Krutowsky scored three goals apiece on the offensive side. Drew Lazar (two goals, one assist) and Jacob Milner (one goal, three assists) also had big days for the “Bolts”.

Netanya led 3-0 and 5-1, and never trailed.

Jacob Silberlicht and Mikolaj Smigie each chipped in two goals for Sderot, while Matthew Flapan added an assist.

In the final game of the evening, Kiryat Gat hung tight for the first 20 minutes before a frustrated Herzliya squad took command in a decisive 12-4 win.

JR Willers and Yilmac Bares scored early goals as the host club kept pace, but Matt Pollack’s goal at 21:19 kicked off a seven-goal run for Herzliya who broke open a 9-2 lead.

Nine different player scored goals for Herzliya (3-2), who missed out on the playoffs on tiebreakers.

Willers led Kiryat Gat (0-5) with two goals.

The two teams will meet again in the consolation semifinals in Tel Aviv on Tuesday night.