Coach Stuart Neave today expressed his relief after Inverleith survived a late surge to edge HC Bohemians Prague 5-4 and maintain Scotland’s position in the EuroHockey Indoor Club Trophy.
The Edinburgh side raced to a 5-1 lead after 18 minutes in their final game in Sveti Ivan Zelina, Croatia, but then the opposition scored three unanswered goals to make set up a nerve-wracking final two minutes.
Neave said: “I’m really pleased that Scotland stays in the Trophy but the margins between promotion and relegation at this level are extremely fine.”
Inverleith started badly with Bohemians netting after two minutes through Filip Kucera but skipper Derek Salmond steadied the ship with a leveller a minute later.
Former Olympian Stephen Dick edged the Scots ahead three minutes later and Fabian Wolski scored from a penalty corner in 15 minutes to make it 3-1.
Salmond grabbed his second two minutes after that and his hat-trick goal arrived 60 seconds later for 5-1.
Bohemians had no alternative but to chase the game in the second half. Ales Perinka netted and Kucera added a third with three minutes left to raise pulses.
And Kucera’s hat-trick goal for No 4 arrived with two minutes remaining but the Edinburgh side, who were dethroned as Scottish champions recently by Dundee-based Grove Menzieshill, held out.