The EuroHockey Indoor Junior Championship got underway in Tarnowskie Gory with 20 games ahead to decide who would lift the EuroHockey Junior Cup!

After the first round of games, it was Turkey and Austria who topped their respective pools to put themselves in a good position to secure semi-final slots if they could keep the momentum going in the afternoon games.

Game 1: Ukraine v Austria 4 – 8 (1 – 5)

Austria went ahead in the 6th minute via CZECH and Ukraine quickly replied in the 9th (a pc from ZAITSEVA). After that Austria dominated the first half adding 4 without reply.

In the second half, Ukraine turned the game around with 3 goals, but unfortunately also conceded 3 more bringing the score to 4-8.

Austria’s captain Luisa MAYER she said she was very happy with her young team’s start “We are happy with the 3 points and hope now for a good game v Russia this afternoon.”

Game 2: Czech Republic v Russia 4 – 6 (2 – 2)

Current champions the Czech Republic lined out in the second game v Russia. Russia went ahead 0-2 in the 3rd and 7th minute, but Czech came back via 2 strikes from BABICKÁ, her first a rocket of a shot from a pc and her second in the 20th minute, a ball scrambled from the Russian GK’s pads at close range.

CHEPLYGINA put Russia again in the lead in the 24th, but that didn’t last long as goal hungry BABICKÁ put away her hattrick in the 25th. Russia pushed forward and EROSHINA put 2 away to extend the lead to Russia. A powerplay for Czech saw them claw back via HOLUBCOVÁ. An intense last few minutes as Czech earned a stroke which they missed, and 2 corners as they tried to find the equaliser. A goal in the last seconds for SARTAKOVA and Russia claimed their first points of the tournament with a 4-6 win over the champions.

Game 3: Belarus v Switzerland 1 – 1 (0 – 0)

An even start to this game as neither side could get on the scoresheet. Indeed it took until the second half of the game to break the deadlock via SYS for Belarus in the 23rd minute but this was countered by STOMPS in the 33rd.

They played out the draw in spite of decent chances, especially for Belarus. 1-1 the final score.

Game 4: Poland v Turkey 3 – 4 (1 – 2)

The game of the morning saw 2 very skilled teams face off against eachother. ÖZMEN put Turkey ahead, an excellent strike following a great save from the Polish keeper. The reply from Poland saw POLEWCZAK rocket a shot home from a pc. A solo run from KÖŞKER and Turkey was ahead again. 1-2 and how the half ended.

In the second half the sides battled it out exchanging the lead, but it was Turkey who struck the critical blow via  CELIK to take the win much to their own delight!

Game 5: Austria v Russia 4 – 0 (1 – 0)

In an incredible show of strength, Austria beat Russia 4-0 in their second game of the day to finish the day with an impeccable record and 6 points.

Without a doubt, it is their penalty corner routines that made the difference this afternoon for Austria as CZECH (7th and 26th minute) and BUCHLEITNER (28th minute) were both on target. A field goal from KERN  in the 29th was the icing on the cake for this well-organised team from Austria.

Game 6: Czech Republic v Ukraine 6 – 4 (2 – 2)

A fantastic start for Ukraine as ZAITSEVA  and SHALYHINA put them ahead twice in the 5th minute of the game, but by half time Czech had equalised 2-2.

A stunning display saw BABICKÁ hit her second hat trick of the day, this time all from open play bringing the score to 5-2.

Ukraine got one back in the 36th minute, a rebound shot from LYTVYNENKO, but again Czech pushed ahead via BAŠOVÁ. The game finished 6-4 to the Czech Republic.

Speaking to double hattrick hero Nikol BABICKÁ following the game that they weren’t, in fact, nervous starting the Tournament as Champions as it was practically a new team. She is “very proud of her goals but more proud of her team. Now we know what our task is and that is a win v Austria tomorrow to make it to the semi-final.”

Game 7: Switzerland v Turkey 4 – 2 (1 – 1)

A very even game in the first half saw each team scoring 1 each to go into the break 1-1.

Turkey went ahead in the 22nd minute, but the second half was dominated by Switzerland as they found their form in the D, scoring 3 with no reply from Turkey and on 4 points that put them top of the pool.

Swiss Captain Sae FONTANA now has the semi-final in her sights “We had some difficulties to get into the game, at the start. But in the second half we played some beautiful combinations. Our ambition now is to get to the semi-finals.  It’s a great opportunity to play the host team, it will be loud and we are feeling good about that.”

Game 8: Poland v Belarus 2 – 6 (0 – 3)

Belarus went ahead via a switched pc by SYDDYKAVA in the 8th minute. They dominated the first half scoring 2 more to go into the break 0-3 up.

A mountain to climb for the hosts in the second half made tougher as Belarus went ahead again in the 25th minute. Poland pressed hard using a powerplay and earned a series of penalty corners in the final quarter of game time but the Belarus defence held firm. Belarus scored again from a pc against a keeperless Poland before the home side got on the scoreboard. A final score of 2-6 puts Belarus top of Pool A overnight and a chance of a semi-final slot. Tomorrow they face Turkey in their final pool game.

Tomorrow’s games:

9 19 Jan 2019 09:00 UKR v RUS (Pool B)
10 19 Jan 2019 10:10 AUT v CZE (Pool B)
11 19 Jan 2019 11:20 BLR v TUR (Pool A)
12 19 Jan 2019 12:30 SUI v POL (Pool A)
13 19 Jan 2019 16:30 4th Pool A v 4th Pool B (Pool C)
14 19 Jan 2019 17:40 3rd Pool A v 3rd Pool B (Pool C)
15 19 Jan 2019 18:50 1st Pool A v 2nd Pool B (Semi Final 1)
16 19 Jan 2019 20:15 1st Pool B v 2nd Pool A (Semi Final 2)

All photographs: World Sport Pics, Frank Uijlenbroek (C)

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