The World Cup of University Hockey started kicked off on Friday with exciting matches, spectacular goals and a huge turnout at Felcsík Ice Rink in Cârţa. The first day of the tournament went as expected in all aspects. There were some thrilling, evenly-matched encounters, one-sided victories and real crowd favourites as well.
On the first day of the World Cup of University Hockey, a total of four matches were played. The first game was an exciting clash between the Polish and Czech national teams. The first period went better for the Poles, they were more active, but at least they managed to keep pace with the Czechs, who seemed to be the favourites. In the next two periods, the game changed and the Czech Republic took control, which was reflected in the number of goals as well as field advantage. However, the opponents continued to be effective and managed to score three times from relatively few situations. In fact, with six minutes to go before the final whistle, they were still in the lead. However, thanks to goals in the last minutes of the game from Jakub Cizek, who seemed to have a lucky day, the Czechs took the three points.
The 13:00 time slot in the group A saw Hungary and Slovakia battle it out. The two teams’ debut at the World Cup of University Hockey was rather different. In contrast to the opening game, the disputes were settled relatively quickly. Between the 19th and the 24th minute, the Slovakian team scored four goals thanks to a big offensive rush. This sealed the fate of the Hungarian team, but the game could have been closer. In the end, the Slovaks did not stop until seven goals had been scored. It looked as if Jakub Sihelský’s goal would remain untouched, but the Hungarian team finally scored with 15 seconds to go.
The third match of the day was a real treat as two great hockey powers, the United States of America and Sweden, went head-to-head. The Swedish team surprisingly underperformed, while the USA played a spectacularly dominant game, and after 20 minutes they made sure to secure the top spot in their group with a huge win, as the scoreboard showed 5-0 at the break. The North American side continued to push forward, increasing their lead from third to third.
The most anticipated match of the day was clearly the clash between the host Romania and Canada. As expected, there was a remarkably large number of people present in the audience watching as the puck hit the ice. All tickets were sold out hours before the game. By the start of the opening ceremony, the stands were packed to capacity, with hundreds of people welcoming the university teams to Cârţa.
The game was in line with the enthusiasm in the stands, as the goals were scored in a frenetic, hard-fought game, and to some surprise, the Romanian side went into both breaks with the lead in their hand. The home side had every chance of victory in the second half, but Canada equalised in the last minutes after a goalkeeping clearance. In the overtime Jens Brändström’s team first created a great situation and then scored the winning goal.
Czech Republic – Poland 4-3
Scorers: Cizek (3), Strejskal, Yerassov (2) and Slusarczyk.
Hungary – Slovakia 1-7
Scorers: Szalay, Trenčan, Stránsky, Novodomec, Adamovič, Vaňo (2), and Párička.
United States of America – Sweden 11-1
Scorers: Selman (3), Spaedt (2), Kalandyk, Foltz, West (2), Lowell, Aldrige and Wedjesjö.
Romania vs Canada 5:4 OT
Scorers: Koppány Márton (4), Norbert Karda, Digulio, Duecky, Sheldon.