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Northern men and Canterbury women kept their top spots in the national under-21 hockey tournament yesterday, but the Southern men moved to two points behind Northern.
Northern men let Midlands score in the final seconds to take it to a shootout which Midlands won 4-3.
Southern men increased their chances of making the final by beating Central 3-2. Southern was down 2-1 at halftime, with Ryan Cosgrove scoring both of Central's goals.
Kane Russell then stepped up for Southern in the second half, scoring two goals to complete his hat trick and giving Southern the win 3-2.
Southern has the bye today and will be looking to get an outright win against Auckland tomorrow to guarantee a spot in the final.
Canterbury women stayed top of the table but were only able to get the two points from their game against Southern, which went into a shootout.
Southern took the early lead with a goal from Anita Chandler, but Canterbury was able to score to go into the second half 1-1.
Once again it was Southern's defence which kept it in the game, with goalie Liz Gifford in outstanding form and helping Southern go into a shootout for a third day in a row.
Canterbury took two points by winning the shootout 3-0. Southern women now sit in fourth place on eight points with four teams ahead.
They also now have the bye before playing their final round-robin match against second-placed Auckland tomorrow.
The New Zealand men's team broke its duck at the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in Malaysia last night, with a last-gasp goal from a penalty corner earning it a 3-2 win against the home side, NZPA reports.
A draw looked inevitable when Faizal Saari equalised from a penalty corner four minutes from fulltime, but a winner from Steven Edwards with time up, also from a penalty corner, gave New Zealand its first win from four matches.