Austria and Switzerland confirmed their place in the men’s EuroHockey Indoor Under-21 Championship semi-finals from Pool A but Pool B remains up for grabs with Denmark, Poland and the Czech Republic all in the running.
It follows another dramatic day in Nymburk after which no side has kept their 100% record in place while Italy were the stars of the day with two wins from two.
** All games from the competition will be live-streamed via www.eurohockeytv.org with commentary from Nick Irvine. This stream is free of charge for those registered with an account.
** Scores will be posted to the EuroHockey social media accounts while full tournament statistical information is available here: https://tms.fih.ch/competitions/1466
Ukraine 4 (D Zeleznyi 2, Y Dzemukh, D Kharmenko) Austria 7 (F Losonci 3, Marcin Nyckowiak 2, T Mimmler, P Bräutigam)
Fülöp Losonci’s second half triple saw Austria make it two wins from two as they escaped the clutches of Ukraine who sit on one point after two games.
The first half went back and forth with two goals from Marcin Nyckowiak countered by Ukraine goals from Dmytro Zeleznyi and Yurii Dzemukh’s lovely finish to make it 2-2. Tobias Mimmler’s corner edged Austria into the lead for a third time in the second half only for Denys Khmarenko to equalise once more.
But the game was broken when Losonci was on target with two corners and a stroke with Paul Bräutigam chipping in with another in the interim to build a 7-3 lead, rendering Zeleznyi’s last-play corner a consolation.
Türkiye 2 (K Özdemir 2) Italy 6 (M Succi 3, F Dionisi Vici 2, L D’Amico)
Italy picked up their first win as they stayed patient to eventually pull away from Türkiye and keep up outside hopes of reaching the semi-finals.
Q1 was scoreless with Türkiye having most of the play but they were not able to make best use of their corners. The Italians went in front when Marcello Succi fed Felix Dionisi Vici who made it 1-0. Leonardo D’Amico added a stroke in the 19th minute for a 2-0 half-time lead.
They rode out a tricky third quarter before racking up the goals. Succi scored the first of his hat trick with seven minutes to go and while Kerem Özdemir replied, three more goals on the quick break – one from Dionisi Vici, two from Succi – put the Italian side out of sight.
Switzerland 4 (L Stomps, Y Hug, L Kraxner, L Grandchamp) Austria 4 (M Kelner 2, Marcin Nyckowiak, F Hackl)
Both Switzerland and Austria moved up to seven points to stay unbeaten and the semi-final spots from Pool A following a thrill-a-minute contest. Boris Stomps started the scoring after just 28 seconds from a corner; Maximilian Kelner equalised from a switch move soon after and Marcin Nyckowiak put Austria in front for the first time in seventh minute with an under the arm goal from the left of the D.
Kelner expanded the lead to 3-1 from another corner; Switzerland closed the gap courtesy of Yannick Hug, slamming in from Loris Grandchamp’s run and pass.
Léonard Kraxner equalised at the second attempt in Q3, flipping in a bouncing backhand shot but a high flick from Florian Hackl kept Austria’s noses in front. That was until 30 seconds from the end of the quarter when Grandchamp scored from a rebound off his own initial shot.
Italy 5 (S Zoppi 2, M Succi 2, F Dionisi Vici) Ukraine 4 (Y Dzemukh 3, D Zheleznyi)
Italy made it two wins from their day to confirm third place in Pool A thanks to two first half goals from Simone Zoppi and two late ones from Marcello Succi.
Zoppi rolled in a low shot to start the scoreboard and then Felix Dionisi Vici tapped in at the back post for 2-0 inside two minutes. Ukraine responded with a beautifully constructed goal created by Vladyslav Cherniuk for Dmytro Zheleznyi to score. Yuri Dzemukh equalised with the first of his hat trick of goals but Zoppi from another sweet team move put Italy 3-2 up at half-time.
Dzemukh made it 3-3 to set up a lively last quarter but it was Succi who, again, made a late show. He got free on the left baseline to restore the lead and then opportunistically intercepted to score the vital fifth goal. Ukraine and Dzemukh scored on the final hooter but to no avail in the context of the game.
Denmark 18 (M Thorsted 4, A Jacobsen 3, H Nørgaard 3, U Nielsen 2, O Sørensen 2, F Moll 2, R Westrup, N Eghøje) Slovakia 1 (M Žák)
Denmark continued their unbeaten run with a big 18-1 win over Slovakia, shaking off a slow start to build their goal difference into the bargain.
Magnus Thorsted opened the scoring but Slovakia battled back and got a neat goal when Richard Garaj spun the ball to Matej Žák to deflect in. It was 3-1 at the end of Q1 but five goals in the second quarter put the Danes well and truly out of sight at 8-1.
They expanded that to 15-1 in the third quarter and then added three more in the last 10 minutes. Thorsted top scored with four goals.
Croatia 3 (L Mesarić 2, F Zlatar) Czech Republic 4 (S Klaban 2, L Stibor, J Trejbal)
Štepán Klaban’s last-ditch goal saw the Czech Republic grab all the points to deny Croatia a point following a huge defensive effort. It lifted the Czechs to six points while Croatia awaited their first points.
Jan Trejbal finished off a classy move to give the hosts a great start but they missed a stroke and soon fell 3-1 behind to a triple-whammy from the Croats. Luka Mesarić rebounded a corner for the first one and then deflected in another; Fran Zlatar planted another set piece on the switch into the net.
They could not hold that lead through to half-time, though, as Klaban battled to score first time from the top of the circle. Lukáš Stibor added a corner for 3-3.
Czech Republic piled on the pressure in the second half but Croatia saved three times off the line with Željko Ruga in inspired form between the posts. But just when it looked like they had done enough to earn a point, the Czechs won a corner which Klaban slotted home.
Slovakia 1 (J Horáček) Croatia 12 (F Zlatar 4, L Mesarić 3, B Hrupec 2, F Nemčić, L Wehr, N Sluga)
Croatia picked up their first win as Slovakia were confirmed in fifth place in the group following a 12-1 result. Luka Mesarić and Fran Nemčić gave Croatia a 2-0 lead in the first quarter and a pair of Fran Zlatar strikes made it 4-0 at half-time.
Zlatar would end the game with four to his name as the Croats began to pull away in the second half with Bruno Hrupec scoring a couple while Lijan Wehr, Noa Sluga, and Mesarić racked up the goals. Slovakia got one back in the 36th minute via Jozef Horáček from close range.
Poland 7 (R Pawlak 4, M Wisniewski 3) Czech Republic 4 (J Brzák 2, T Branšovsky, P Dubina)
Poland produced a superb performance to inflict a first defeat of the event on the Czech Republic hosts as Robert Pawlak produced an outstanding personal performance to lead his side.
The first half was defined by the brilliance of Pawlak as they raced into a 4-0 lead in the opening eight minutes. Two were from Mateusz Wiśniewski corners either side of two brilliant Pawlak goals, one a spin out of trouble on the left before calmly shooting into the bottom corner. The other was a long solo effort, picking out the top of the net at the end.
The Czechs rallied, though, and had cut the gap to 5-3 by half-time with Jan Brzák scoring twice in a minute after Tomáš Branšovsky put them on the board from a corner.
After that breathless first half, Q3 was quieter with no goals accruing as the hosts put on the pressure but could not find a way through. The killer goal arrived with both sides down to five players with Wiśniewski spinning in a goal from the left sideline.
Patrik Dubina got one back on the final hooter but they now need a result against Denmark in their final group match if they are to advance to the final four.