Hempfield's Elias Lountzis had Warwick back on its collective heels when teammate Jack Laser poked the puck his way in the third period Friday at Lancaster Ice Rink. Lountzis skated in on goal, behind the defense, and flicked a shot into the top-left corner of the net. Lountzis scored three third-period goals — in a five-point performance — to help Hempfield surge past Warwick, 7-2, in a Central Pennsylvania Interscholastic Hockey League Viola Division playoff opener for both teams.
"The focus was there today," said Devyn Laser, Hempfield's coach. "They were mentally ready."
The win sends the No. 4 Black Knights (13-6-0-0) — with players from Hempfield and Conestoga Valley — to face top-seeded West Shore in a winners bracket game scheduled for 7:45 p.m. Monday at Twin Ponds. The No. 5 Warriors (10-6-2-1), defending Viola Cup champions, await the details of their next game in the elimination bracket with their season suddenly on the line in the double-elimination tournament.
"There was no fire," Warwick coach Joseph Kyle said of his team's effort Friday. "Hopefully that fire was put under their butts now that we're at the elimination stage."
The Black Knights had built a 2-0 lead by the end of the first period Friday with a goal from Conestoga Valley's Jack Laser and one from Theodore Lountzis, who tapped in a cross-ice pass from his brother, Elias.
GOAL, Hempfield. Theodore Lountzis tales the cross-ice feed from Elias Lountzis and taps in to boost the Black Knights lead over Warwick to 2-0 w/ 2:28 left in the first period. pic.twitter.com/aPlRiTUhoW— Tim Gross (@TimGrossLNP) February 8, 2020
"They grew up together," Devyn Laser said of the Lountzis brothers. "When you get them on the ice together, they have that energy. They have that flow."
Elias Lountzis tacked on a power play goal in the second period and opened the third period with another, taking the pass from Jack Laser before completing the hat trick en route to a four-goal, one-assist performance. Theodore Lountzis added his second goal of the night later in the period.
GOAL, Hempfield. Elias Lountzis nets his second power play tally of the game with 15:24 left. Warwick's Kyle Zimmerman answers nine seconds later. Black Knights lead 4-1. pic.twitter.com/OOBQ9U4gIH— Tim Gross (@TimGrossLNP) February 8, 2020
Kyle Zimmerman scored both of Warwick's goals in the third period, providing the offensive spark for the Warriors, who struggled to sustain pressure in the Hempfield end.
"We didn't show up as Warwick ice hockey tonight," Joseph Kyle said, citing a lack of communication. "I think we showed up as individuals, rather than playing as a team."
Conestoga Valley's Joshua Griel stopped 12 shots in goal for the Black Knights while Warwick goaltender Breanna Cesavice turned away 34 of the 41 shots she faced from Hempfield.
"Hopefully, we maintain the momentum that we built tonight," Devyn Laser said.
Friday's Other Scores
Palmyra 5, Lower Dauphin 1
Central York 4, Cedar Crest 3 (SO)
Hershey vs. Central Dauphin at Klick Lewis Arena, 8:30 p.m.
West Shore vs. Hempfield at Twin Ponds, 8:45 p.m.
Twin Valley vs. Central York at Body Zone, 7 p.m.