Ashkelon to challenge Be’er Sheva in IPLL Championship Game

TEL AVIV, ISRAEL — Be’er Sheva LC will defend the IPLL Championship on Thursday night against Ashkelon LC, following solid semifinal wins at Hapoel Tel Aviv’s Wolfson Fields on Tuesday.

Be’er Sheva (5-1) was first to punch their ticket into the 2017 final with a 13-9 win over Haifa in a rematch of the 2016 Championship Game.

Haifa led 2-1 in the first quarter, but Be’er Sheva fired back with four straight goals and never trailed from there.

Eric Fischer led the “Speed of the Negev” with four goals, while Aaron Rubenstein (three goals, one assist), Tom Carver (two goals) and Lane Kadish (two goals) also had big days on offense.

Payton Fales (60:00, 10 saves, 9 GA) earned the win in goal.

Dan Kravit scored four goals and one assist, with Alex Rabin adding three goals and one assists for Haifa.

While Fischer and Be’er Sheva will bring the trophy to Tel Aviv on Thursday with plans to return it home later in the evening, Ashkelon intends to stand in their way.

Lucas Gradinger and Jarett Greben scored four goals and one assist apiece as the “Fighting Alephs” rolled past Sderot to earn their first IPLL Championship Game appearance.

Ashkelon led 5-1 and 11-4 en route to an 11-9 win over the expansion “Stuntmen” on Tuesday evening.

A late five-goal run by Sderot had Ashkelon rattled, but Bryan Rotatori and the Ashkelon squad were able to run out the clock and secure the win.

Rotatori, who has 24 goals on the season, was contained for much of the game by Sderot — he finished with just two goals — however, Greben and Gradinger picked up the slack. Greben was Ashkelon’s only scorer in the second quarter, taking a 2-1 lead to a dominant 5-1 advantage with three consecutive scores.

Ben Gleichenhaus (60:00, 16 saves, 9 GA) had a stellar day in between the pipes to earn the win.

Jacob Silberlicht (three goals, one assist) led Sderot.

In consolation play, Herzliya fought off a frenetic Kiryat Gat rally to hold on for a 9-7 win. Herzliya led 6-2 before Kiryat Gat scored five straight goals to take a 7-6 lead. Sean Wright scored the game-winner and added an extra tally to put the game away. Spencer Rotenberg led Kiryat Gat with four goals and an assist.

Dan Applebaum scored three goals and four assists while Drew Lazar added four goals as Barak Netanya dominated Ashdod, 11-3. Netanya led 7-1 and will meet Herzliya in the Consolation Final. JJ Pickard scored two goals for the Dolphins.