Superfinal and Promotion Final becoming clearer

Division A and Division B delight Siófok with tight mathches, overtime, defense, hat-tricks, and superb play

Turkey starts slow but finishes strong for opening win

The 5-1 win for Turkey was in doubt after a sluggish opening frame. However, they used a big second period to take charge and stay in control in the third period. The events’ opening match included some great saves, beautiful passing, and spectacular goals. The first points give Turkey some much needed momentum as they hope to win the stage and earn a right to play in the Promotion Final later this month. Turkey will face Norway in Saturday and another win is exactly what they need. Bulgaria will regroup and despite losing this match, they still have opportunities to advance, as long as they build on this match. The Bulgarians will take on Austria on Saturday and will surely use the lead they maintained early in this match as motivation for their next battle.

Spectacular efforts on the offensive end went unfulfilled as the defenses were up to the task early in the opening frame. In the last few minutes of the period, Turkey looked like the team ready to open the scoring but in a quick change of events, Bulgaria scored on a direct kick. Bulgaria returned to their defensive tactics and protected their lead and the first period ended with Bulgaria up 1-0. Turkey did not waste any time in leveling things in the middle frame as Turkish star Cem used a creative touch in front of goal to make the score 1-1.Turkey took their first lead of the match just after the midway point in the match when they took advantage of a big opening in the Bulgarian defense, scoring their second goal on the day. Two last minute goals by Turkey put them up 4-1 going into the final break.

The Bulgarian squad did really well in the opening minutes of the frame to stay on the attack and keep the Turkish from adding to their three goal lead. The chances did not yield goals but the energy was evident. Turkey handled the Bulgarian attacks and went on the offensive themselves midway through the period, but Gospidinov, the keeper for Bulgaria, made some amazing saves to keep his team close enough to strike. The Turkish side scored the periods’ first goal on a very tricky play that fooled the Bulgarian keeper and put the score at 5-1, which is how the match would finish as despite a late all-out attack from Bulgaria, the elusive second goal never came.

Goals: 0-1: Filipov, min. 4 (1); 1-1: Cem, min. 9 (2); 2-1: Yucel, min. 5 (2); 3-1: Emrah, min. 0 (2); 4-1: Emrah, min. 0 (2); 5-1: Adil, min. 3 (3).

Hungary nearly perfect in win over Andorra

The 4-1 victory for Hungary over Andorra was a perfect start for the Division B hosts. They scored quickly in the opening two periods and rode the momentum to a big win. They put Andorra on their heels and kept them there for the entire match. The win puts Hungary on track to qualify for the Promotion Final in Torredembarra later this month. Andorra still has a chance to advance as well, as the top two teams from each Division B group, three in total, will qualify, along with the best third place team. The Hungarians will face the Czech Republic on Friday while Andorra will take on England.

Hungary began the match just as they needed to and dreamed they would, with an early beauty of a goal. The early deficit did not slow Andorra, who pressed the Hungarian defense but they were unable to find the back of the net in the early going. The Hungarian keeper, Ficsor, scored on a rocket of a strike in the final seconds of the period to make the score 2-0 for the hosts going into the second period. The second period began just as exciting for Hungary, with the goalie delivering a perfect distribution to Fekete, who slotted home the third goal of the match. Hungary was not satisfied and they wanted to make an opening statement in front of their fans, they continued to push and scored again midway through the game to go up 4-0. The Andorran defense solidified and did not concede another goal in the period but they did not score either and faced a 4-0 deficit going into the final period.

The opportunities were there for Andorra though they were just not falling for them until midway through the final period when a pinball sequence of crosses and rebounds let to a goal for Julia, breathing life into an Andorran comeback with the score sitting at 4-1, Hungary. Andorra continued to dominate the final period but no other goals for either side came despite the chances. There was some late game drama but it was not enough to bring Andorra any closer or put Hungary any further out of reach. The buzzer sounded with a score of 4-1 for Hungary.

Goals: 0-1: Abel, min. 10 (1); 0-2: Ficsor, min. 0 (1); 0-3: Fekete, min. 10 (2); 0-4: Jaksa, min. 6 (2); 1-4: Julia, min. 7 (3).

Dramatic finish gives Norway 3 points

The 4-3 win for Norway was a great start for their bid to play in the Promotion Final in Torredembarra, Spain later this month. The game was the definition of back-and-forth as the Norway side took the lead four separate times, the final one came with just over a minute left. The three points is what Norway needed to make their booking to the postseason easier. Austria fought back three different times in the match but came up short, however they can still advance to the Promotion final as long as they can rebound tomorrow against Turkey. Noway will face Bulgaria.

The match could not have began any more perfect for Norway as they scored within 30 seconds but Austria responded quickly, another 30 seconds later, they scored the equaliser building the tension from there. The two defenses really settled in and found their rhythm and going into the final minutes of the first period no more goals had been scored. With less than two minutes to go in the period, Sendre of Norway put his team up for the second time, the period ended with the Norwegians up 2-1. The teams continued to feed off of each other as once again they alternated early goals, with Norway scoring last and going up 3-2 early in the middle frame. Austria would not let the Norwegian side get comfortable as they leveled the score once again near the midway point of the match. The score remained the same and went into the deciding period tied at 3.

The teams exchanged shots and battled for possession though neither side was able to score going into the middle of the period. The torrid pace that was played for much of the match slowed though both teams were continually looking for the winning goal. Norway used some set pieces to create great looks at goal but could not get that final goal. Norway’s captain, Li, showed why he is one of their best players as he hit in a point-blank rebound in the final minute to give his side the final goal of the match. The Austrians could not find the equaliser and wound up losing 4-3.

Goals: 1-0: Sorensen, min. 11 (1); 1-1: Gahleitner, min. 10 (1); 2-1: Sendre, min. 1 (1); 2-2: Gahleitner, min. 10 (2); 3-2: Salveson, min. 9 (2); 3-3: Babler, min. 7 (2); 3-4: Li, min. 1 (3).

The Czech Republic uses star performance to earn victory

The 7-3 Czech Republic victory was played very fast and gave the Czechs a leg up on England and the other Division B Group 1 teams in getting to the Promotion Final, and a shot at the European Olympics in Baku and Division A in the EBSL in 2015. England came out quick at first but the Czech Republic charged ahead, with the help of a four goal showing from Bocek, and never looked back. The Czech National Team will next face Andorra on Saturday. England will have a chance to get their first three points against Hungary on Saturday. As the table looks now, the Czech Republic and Hungary are at the top of the group and England and Andorra are tied at the bottom.

A tactical approach was undertaken by both teams in the opening minutes as they looked to see what the other side was going to do. It only took a few minutes for England to show their scoring ability when Temple made a rapid turn and slotted home the shot. The Czech Republic did not look at the one goal deficit for very long as they netted a shot of their own less than a minute later. Either side could have scored five more goals but the defenses held strong and the score was 1-1 at the end of the first period. The second frame was the opposite of the first period as the goals came flying from all ends of the pitch, from both teams. The Czechs stormed in front with the second goal from Bocek, but England battled back to get to within 3-2. The Czech Republic, however, responded with two more goals, both from their star Chalupa to go up 5-2. The Three Lions showed resilience and added a last minute goal in the second period to go into the final frame down 5-3.

The third period began disastrous for England as the Czechs scored early to restore the three goal advantage, and it was the third goal from their big man Bocek. England shored up their defense but were unable to get past the Czech defense in the final period and they went into the final minutes down 6-3. Bocek added another goal, his fourth of the match to make sure that the English could not mount the large comeback and the game finished with the Czechs up 7-3.

Goals: 0-1: Temple, min. 7 (1); 1-1: Bocek, min. 6 (1); 2-1: Bocek, min. 9 (2); 3-1: Mandik, min. 8 (2); 3-2: Corbett, min. 7 (2); 4-2: Chalupa, min. 7 (2); 5-2; Chalupa, min. 2 (2); 5-3: Evans, min. 0 (2); 6-3: Bocek, min. 10 (3); 7-3: Bocek, min. 2 (3).

Italy needs overtime to secure win

The 6-5  overtime win for Italy over Ukraine puts them in position to get the top spot of the entire EBSL, as they are only one point behind Spain and Switzerland. And the Italians still have two games in hand to earn two more points to earn the top seed of all of Europe. Italy took the lead so often that it seemed like Ukraine liked playing from behind, but the deciding goal was not scored until overtime, with the fourth goal from star Gori. Italy will face Germany on Saturday in hopes of securing the top spot. Ukraine will need to defeat Portugal in hopes of getting into the Superfinal.

Italy put pressure on the Ukraine side very early and nearly scored multiple times in the opening minutes but the Ukrainians held tough and then shifted the pressure back onto the Azzurri. The Italians countered quickly though and scored the first goal of the match when Gori faced an open net and secured the first goal of the match. Ukraine responded and took advantage of a penalty kick after a hand-ball, and knotted the match at 1. The Blue and Yellows seemed to gain strength as the period progressed being offered more opportunities on goal but they did not capitalize and the period ended how it began, tied, at 1-1. Italy started the second period with another goal from Gori to go up 2-1 and they maintained their sound defense to keep the Ukrainians at bay. Ukraine would not stay quiet for long and used a direct kick to equalize the game once again, this time at 2. Italy went ahead in the middle of the match, for the third time but late in the second frame Ukraine balanced the score once again, with a timely header that had both teams getting into the final period tied at 3.

Ukraine and Italy could not find the back of the net because the defenses were stout and the score remained levelled until midway through the last period when Gori of Italy scored his third goal of the match to put his side up 4-3. As was the case throughout the first two periods, the Ukrainians gained momentum and played better when they were staring at a deficit. The speed for Ukraine picked up, almost instantly, and they went on the attack trying to force Italian mistakes. Eventually they did, in the final four minutes they scored their fourth equalizer and began looking for their first lead. The Italians would not let that happen and they took their fifth lead of the match on a penalty kick less than a minute after Ukraine leveled things. But the match was not over. Ukraine would not give up and score on a last minute goal to balance back the scoreboard and send the game into overtime. In the additional three minutes, the Italian hero, Gori, would seal the win just  30 seconds into overtime, with his fourth goal of the match putting his team up for good at 6-5, which is how the match would end.

Goals: 1-0: Gori, min. 9 (1); 1-1: Korniichuk, min. 8 (1); 2-0: Gori, min. 10 (2); 2-2: Voitenko, min. 8 (2); 3-2: Marinai, min. 7 (2); 3-3: Budzko, min. 3 (2); 4-3: Gori, min. 6 (3); 4-4: Budko, min. 3 (3); 5-4: Palmacci, min. 3 (3); 5-5: Budzko, min. 0 (3); 6-5: Gori, min 2 (et).

Portugal survives Germany in thrilling victory

The 5-2 win for Portugal was so close that neither team were sure of the outcome until the last minutes. Portugal went up early and the Germans fought back and stayed close throughout but were not able to get the goals they needed to win. A third hat-trick on the day, this one from Jose Maria solidified the Portuguese win. Portugal has not lost in the EBSL and will face Ukraine on Saturday to be the only team with 15 points, as Germany will take on Italy in another tough matchup though they are near securing a spot in the Superfinal.

Portugal has been on a tear in Europe, in their first EBSL stop and in the Mundialito and this match began with the fast-pace Portuguese team scoring early to show they are aiming to stay undefeated in the EBSL. The Germans did not look daunted and continued to battle but they conceded another early goal and found themselves down 2-0 before the midway point in the opening frame. Germany still saw chances open up for them and they finally opened up their scoring in the final minutes of the frame to get within one goal at 2-1. Germany, as they have showed all season, should never be considered an underdog against anyone, they tied the match at 2 with a goal just over a minute later, which is how the period would end. No more goals were scored until the middle of the middle frame as Jose Maria added another goal to his tally, his second of the match, to put his Portuguese side up 3-2. The period would end with the same score and the Germans remained in striking distance going into the final break.

Germany stared at many opportunities in the early going of the their period but were unable to score and find the equaliser. Portugal added to their lead, but as the first period showed, no lead is safe when facing the competitive and determined German side. Portugal found their stride again and used a goal from Belchior to solidify their victory and go up 5-2 with only three minutes remaining. The Germans continued to play physical but were unable to score again as Portugal showed how tough they are and the matched ended with a score of 5-2.

Goals: 0-1: Torres, min. 9 (1); 0-2: Jose Maria, min. 7 (1); 1-2: Ullrich, min. 3 (1); 2-2: Fiks, min. 1 (1); 2-3: Jose Maria, min. 6 (2); 2-4: Jose Maria, min. 8 (3); 2-5: Belchior, min. 3 (3).


Game results

Fri 08.08.14   
14:45 – Turkey 5-1 Bulgaria (Division B – Group 2)
16:00 – Andorra 1-4 Hungary (Division B – Group 1)
17:15 – Norway 4-3 Austria (Division B – Group 2)
18:30 – Czech Republic 7-3 England (Division B – Group 1)
19:45 – Italy 6-5 (aet) Ukraine (Division A)
21:00 – Germany 2-5 Portugal (Division A)

Matches for tomorrow:
Sat 09.08.14   
14:45 – Turkey vs. Norway (Division B – Group 2)
16:00 – Austria vs. Bulgaria (Division B – Group 2)
17:15 – Czech Republic vs. Andorra (Division B – Group 1)
18:30 – Italy vs. Germany (Division A)
19:45 – Hungary vs. England (Division B – Group 1)
21:00 – Portugal vs. Ukraine (Division A)

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