It was goals galore as the EuroHockey Club Challenge events got underway at two of the four venues across Europe. KPH Raca of Slovakia hit the ground running in EH Challenge II as they shot eight goals past their Bulgarian rivals while the biggest result at EH Challenge IV in Finland was a 9-0 win for Hungarian team Soroksári – Olcote HC.
EH Club Challenge I in Geneva, Switzerland, and EH Club Challenge III in Vienna, Austria, both spring into action tomorrow (Friday 18 May).
Here is a roundup of the action and results from Day One.
EH Club Challenge II
Whitchurch vs Hockey Klub Zelina 2-3
The EH Club Challenge II in Lipovci, Slovenia, opened with a cracking Pool A game between Whitchurch and Hockey Klub Zelina. The 3-2 scoreline favoured the Croatian team but Whitchurch will have groaned as the final whistle went, as the Welsh side were really making their way back into the game.
Michael Venn gave Whitchurch the early lead but this was cancelled out by Mihael Posavec’s strike five minutes later. Mario Ilinovic then scored two neat field goals to give his side a cushioned lead. Phillip Wilkinson struck back in the 60th minute after some sustained pressure on the Croatia goal.
FHC Akademik Plus Sofia vs KPH Raca 2-8
Slovakian team KPH Raca hit the ground running in the opening Pool B match as they thumped eight goals past FHC Akademik Plus Sofia. The Bulgarians managed two goals in response but this was the Slovakian’s day.
It was actually Akademik who took the lead in the 15th minute through a penalty corner that was driven home by Georgi Baklev. This spurred Raca into action and first Matej Hruska and then Tomas Romanec struck within a few seconds of each other. Hruska found the back of the net twice more, demonstrating his devastating turn of pace and unerring eye for goal. Romanec also scored a hat-trick – two goals from penalty corners and one from open play. They were joined on the score-sheet by Michal Holasek and Tomas Vacha. Ventislav Balev scored a consolation for his team in the final quarter of play.
Grammarians vs HK Lipovci 5-2
Home side Lipovci came up short in their opening match against the Gibraltar team Grammarians. A hat trick for Mark Casciaro put the game beyond Lipovci’s reach, although the Slovenian team fought back with goals from Uros Stanko and Dominik Mesaric. Grammarians other goals came from captain Shane Ramagge and Carl Ramagge.
EH Club Challenge IV
The opening day of the Men’s EuroHockey Club Challenge IV in Helsinki, Finland, started off with four exciting matches.
Floriana Young Stars HC vs HK Moravske Topic 0-2
In the day’s first game, it was the Slovenian team HK Moravske Toplice that came out on top in the first Pool A match, beating the Floriana Young Stars HC of Malta 0-2. The goal scorers for the Slovenian side were Filip Bencik and Saso Dervaric, both with well-taken field goals.
HC Kilppari vs Építők HC 2-0
In the second Pool A match of the day, Finnish side HC Kilppari topped Hungarian team Építők HC 2-0. Both goals came in the second quarter, firstly from a Sampo Hirvioja penalty corner and then Simo Makela scored after a great passing move by the team split the Hungarian defence.
Soroksári – Olcote HC vs Mortensrud-Aker SK 9-0
The third match of the day saw a flood of goals for Hungarian squad Soroksári – Olcote HC, who beat Norwegian team Mortensrud-Aker SK by a 9-0 margin. A slow first half in this Pool B match burst into life as Andras Zsoldos, Imre Farkas (2), Zsombor Ficzere, Sebastian Leber, Bence Majer (2) and Balint Palotai all found their way onto the score sheet.
FHC Slavia 1921 vs ABC-Team 1-4
The day’s last Pool B game between FHC Slavia 1921 from Bulgaria and tournament hosts ABC-Team from Finland ended in a 1-4 result for the Finnish. The home side delighted their spectators with an exciting display of attacking hockey. It is a day ABC’s Tony Meski will want to forget as he received two yellow cards, leading to a red card, but the rest of his team enjoyed a good start to the tournament. Goals came from Mark Verdegaal (2), Otto-Petteri Ventela and Jussi Paananen. FHC Slavia’s goal scorer was Radoslav Grozkov.
Action from all four EuroHockey Club Challenge tournaments will be underway tomorrow (Friday 18 May). keep up to date with match reports, pictures and playing schedules here. Also follow the action across the EHF social media channels.