At the halfway point of the inaugural season of the IPLL, everyone has played each other once, and we have a clear-cut league-leader in Haifa LC (3-0) and a basement-dweller in Tel Aviv LC (0-3).
That’s not to say that there isn’t a thin line between all four teams in the league. Three of the six league games to date have been decided by just a one-goal margin (ironically, all by an 8-7 final score). Haifa defeated both Netanya and Ashkelon by one goal. Ashkelon defeated Tel Aviv by one goal.
The theory will be tested on Thursday when all four teams are back in action. Barak Netanya LC (2-1) meets Tel Aviv (0-3) at 7:00 PM, while Ashkelon LC (1-2) hosts Haifa (3-0) at 8:30 PM.
The games are the main events of a full-day festival featuring the Israel women’s and U-19 national teams, as well as U-15 and U-19 boys teams from across the country.
Players to Watch
Barak Netanya LC
Matthew Greenberg, Ithaca – Greenberg has scored seven goals in the last two games for the Lightning.
Jacob Reiner, Clark – Reiner made 11 saves in Tuesday’s loss to first-place Haifa.
Tel Aviv LC
Matthew Flapan, Israel Defense Forces – Flapan has nine goals on the season — as much as the rest of his team combined — along with three assists.
Noah Miller, Vermont/McGill – Rumors are floating around that Miller, an active IDF soldier, will come off the the Designated Player List and join Tel Aviv’s roster.
Justin Diamond, Boston University – Diamond has been unstoppable, scoring 12 goals and four assists in three games for the first-place Keleveem.
Ted Bergman, Wesleyan – Bergman recorded a league-record 17 saves in Tuesday’s win over Netanya.
Mitch Goldberg, Richmond – Goldberg’s 10 goals are good for second in the league.
Juri Elonen, LTU Finland – Elonen made eight saves to earn EL AL Player of the Game honors on Monday night.
We’re going to have a pair of upsets on Thursday night under the lights. Netanya handled Tel Aviv in the season opener, but Tel Aviv’s new-found depth will surprise Barak. Ashkelon’s Goldberg and Seth Mahler will find a way to beat Bergman to deal Haifa their first loss.