EHL ROUND1, Barcelona, October 7 – day three round-up: 

– Oranje-Rood put to the test but prevail 2-1 vs SV Arminen in Pool A

– Mannheim go through despite dramatic Pool B draw with Wimbledon

– Leopold pull away from HC Minsk to top Pool C

– Three Rock go through as Junior finish two goals short against Racing in Pool D

– EHL KO16 confirmed for Eindhoven from April 17-22, 2019 with Oranje-Rood hosting (further details on Monday)

Friday 5 October 2018
Pool A:
SV Arminen 4 (A Bele 2, Philip Schmidt, Patrick Schmidt) Grange 1 (J Tweedie)

Pool B: Wimbledon 5 (E Malthouse, I Lewers, J Codling, I Sloan, P Roper) Dinamo Elektrostal 2 (N Dvoretskii, M Proskuriakov)

POOL C: HC Minsk 1 (U Kochkin) WKS Grunwald Poznan 2 (M Hulboj, A Mikula)

Pool D: Three Rock Rovers 6 (M Darling 2, C Empey, D Walsh, M English, R Canning) Racing Club de France 0

Saturday 6 October 2018 (all times CET)

Pool A: (T Briels 2, L Martinez 2, B de Voogd, T Beins) Grange 0

Pool B: Mannheimer HC 7 (G Peillat 2, L Vila 2, G Barreiros, T Nguyen, F Schues) Dinamo Elektrostal 2 (N Dvoretskii, I Larikov)

Pool C: Royal Leopold 3 (K Russell 2, T Zimmer) WKS Grunwald Poznan 1 (A Mikula)

Pool D: Junior FC 1 (S Enrique) Three Rock Rovers 1 (L Madeley)

Sunday 7 October 2018 (all times CET)

Pool A: HC Oranje-Rood 2 (B Stanzl 2) SV Arminen 1 (A Bele)

Pool B: Mannheimer HC 1 (G Peillat) Wimbledon HC 1 (E Horler)

Pool C: Royal Leopold 5 (G Baumgarten 2, T Degroote 2, K Russell) HC Minsk 0

Pool D: Junior FC 5 (J Garcia, G Dabanch, A Gil, N Mari, L Garcia) Racing Club de France 1 (A Bellenger)

Day three reports

Pool A: HC Oranje-Rood 2 (B Stanzl 2) SV Arminen 1 (A Bele)

Two goals from Austrian superstar Benjamin Stanzl against his countrymen saw HC Oranje-Rood beat SV Arminen to secure top spot in Pool A and advance to the KO16 which they will host.

“It was not our best game,” Stanzl said after the game. “We created a lot of chances but it was still tight. They had a good chance at the end and it was never easy but I think we showed some good hockey.”

His goals both came as the last part of a team move, providing a simple touch but they are always enjoyable to score.

“Lucky me that I scored the two goals but they are some of the easier ones; EHL is always a highlight for us, even if it is the first round. These are international games and the big aim was the KO16 in Eindhoven.”

It also meant some bragging rights over one of his rivals who used to always get the better of his club in the Austrian league.

“When I was with Post, I didn’t play a lot against them at senior but we always lost. They were the big rivals and they did a good job for Austrian hockey.”

Stanzl volleyed home from close range in the first quarter for the opening goal following an excellent Thomas Briels run down the right baseline, flipping the ball over goalkeeper Michael Mantler.

But Arminen were not to be beaten easily and they duly fought back and got on the scoreboard via Alexander Bele when he finished off from the right of the circle.

Stanzl did restore the advantage before half-time with another tap-in for a 2-1 lead. They had many chances in the third and fourth quarter to extend the lead with Mantler’s goal peppered with shots but they could not move out of sight, meaning Arminen still had hope.

They needed a win, however, and when Pirmin Blaak kept out a penalty corner in the last two minutes, that appeared to be the end of their challenge.

Pool B: Mannheimer HC 1 (G Peillat) Wimbledon 1 (E Horler)

Mannheimer HC won through to the KO16 of the EHL as they held on for a gritty 1-1 draw that sends them through ahead of Wimbledon on goal difference from Pool B ROUND1.

It was a tough physical battle from the very start with numerous green cards throughout the first half as neither side was willing to relent at any stage.

Gonzalo Peillat’s powerful drag-flick gave the German club the half-time lead as he scored from the first of two corners before the break. They were grateful, though, to some brilliant defending from Teo Hinrichs to keep them ahead while Lucas Vila showed some beautiful touches but got little change from Michael Hoare and his dogged defensive team.

It set up a big second half with Wimbledon needing two goals to get in front. Their task almost got even tougher when Timm Haasse drew an amazing save from James Bailey. Peillat’s third corner chance was not stopped.

From there, Wimbledon tore into their attacks with Ben Arnold’s shot brilliantly saved by Lukas Stumpf in the 43rd minute. Ed Horler gave his side the lifeline with 12 minutes left following a swift baseline attack, calmly slotting home from the near post. 

It set up a grandstand finish but Mannheim stayed calm and won through to the KO16 with Wimbledon finishing second in their group.

“It was a big battle,” Gonzalo Peillat said afterwards. “Wimbledon are a very nice team but maybe we were a bit unlucky with the injury to Lucas [Vila] and our centre-back [Philipp Huber] but we defended pretty good in the end.

“In the first half, we were better and had our chances but couldn’t take the goals so in the end we had to suffer a little bit but we did a great job. 

“Elektrostal was a little bit disorganised for us in the first half despite us having control of the game. But when we had our chances in the second half, we took them which was great. Today was a different game with both sides defending pretty well inside the circle. These kind of games are good for the fans and hockey in general.

“It was a great weekend for us and a huge step forward this season to push on in the EHL when maybe we were not good enough last season!”

Pool C: Royal Leopold 5 (G Baumgarten 2, T Degroote 2, K Russell) HC Minsk 0

Royal Leopold shook off a strong challenge from HC Minsk to book their place in the KO16, adding their second win to an initial 3-1 success over WKS Grunwald Poznan.

Indeed, the Belarus side had more of the game in the first quarter, taking the challenge to the Belgians as they chased a two-goal lead that could possibly send them through.

Indeed, had they a little more accuracy in the attacking zone, they might have gone ahead on a couple of occasions. Leo awoke from their Sunday morning slumber to some extent in the second quarter with Gaspard Baumgarten firing a warning shot, Iaroslav Hordey spectacularly tipping over the bar.

Illia Kryshchanovichk just missed out on an equaliser when he dived to tip in a speedy attack down the right while Tom Degroote saw another powerful shot tipped over the bar.

The breakthrough did eventually come in the second half when Kane Russell scored his third goal of the weekend from a penalty corner. Hordey continued to boot away saves in unorthodox fashion but he was unable to keep out Degroote in the final quarter when he rounded the keeper and shot home on his reverse.

Baumgarten then slipped in a third to make the result safe. Dimitri Cuvelier clattered the bar with another chance as they made Minsk feel the tiredness in their legs. 

Baumgarten then walked in the fourth goal with less than two minutes to go and Degroote nailed a penalty stroke. It lifted them to 10 points in Pool C with WKS Grunwald Poznan second on six points and Minsk ending on one point in their debut EHL season.

“The first half was very complicated,” said Tom Degroote told the Hockey Belgium website. “We did not manage our game well. Our coach, Robin Geens, made some strong points at half-time and we finally dared to play forward and develop our game. 

“It was such a difference between the two halves. We must be much more consistent. This is played out in the head and that’s really our focus for the next few weeks. This European weekend has done us the greatest good before playing four important matches in the Belgian league before the break.”

Pool D: Junior FC 5 (J Garcia, G Dabanch, A Gil, N Mari, L Garcia) Racing Club de France 1 (A Bellenger)

Junior FC’s goal chase came up two goals short as they could not find the total they needed to overhaul Three Rock Rovers on goal difference, sending the Irish side into the KO16 in front of them despite a 5-1 win over Racing Club de France.

It took them just 70 seconds to get off the mark as a ball was not cleared by the Racing defence and Javiar Garcia slotted the chance through the goalkeeper’s legs. It got the large local support buzzing.

Lukas Plochy went within centimetres of a second with a shot across the face of goal. The second goal came when the ball made its way across goal to the waiting Gaby Dabanch who was left with the simplest of tasks to tap in, 2-0 with very little time gone.

And they kept piling on the pressure, winning their first corner in the 22nd minute with Alex Gil whipping home a drag-flick to get halfway to their intended total.

Racing had one chance of note, coming from a breakway from a Junior corner, with Albert Perez taking a deflected cross on the chest and clearing to safety, keeping a 3-0 gap into the half-time break.

The third quarter was scoreless with Racing scrambling to every ball and holding the Sant Cugat tide at bay. That run of defiance nearly ended but for Antoine Croutte’s spectacular save from the second Junior corner.

But they did get their fourth in the 48th minute when Nil Mari rounded on a loose ball to thrash home. Junior committed an extra man forward after this and it left them open to counter-attacks, requiring a series of good saves from Perez while Amaury Bellenger shot wide a reverse from a great position.

Thibaut Fouquet, though, got a goal on the board for Racing with eight minutes to go when he volleyed home a rebound to reduce the deficit to 4-1. Lucas Garcia got another one for the Spanish side within a minute as they looked to get to their new target of seven.

They could not find them and Three Rock Rovers were the ones to profit, staying clear on goal difference to take their place in the KO16 for the third time.

For further information:

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Photo: Oranje-Rood  v SV Arminen 1