Former champions Services and Tamil Nadu became the first teams to move into the quarter-finals knock-out stage in the Dainik Bhaskar-Tracer 62nd Senior National Hockey Championship, being played at four centers in Punjab.
Meanwhile, former champions Indian Airlines and Railways strengthened their claims for a place in the knock-out stage after registering their third successive victories in their respective pools.
Services and Tamil Nadu completed their league fixtures, the former thrashing Haryana 8-2 in a Pool H match, while the latter overcame a stubborn challenge from Bengal to emerge winners 3-1 in Pool F.
Indian Airlines hammered Himachal Pradesh 15-0 in Pool E encounter while Railways thrashed Andhra Pradesh 7-1 in Pool B.
Delhi were held to a 1-1 draw by Uttar Pradesh in Pool G; Pondicherry mauled Andaman and Nicobar islands 17-0 in a Pool-B match, while Jammu and Kashmir kept their hopes alive for a place in the next stage with a 13-3 thrashing of Tripura in a Pool G match.
In another encounter, Mizoram who have been impressive so far, recorded their first victory beating Kerala 4-2 in Pool H.
At the PAU campus in Ludhiana, Services thrashed Haryana 8-2 after leading 2-1 at the breather. For the winners, D Mahoak scored three goals while Ajay Kumar found the mark on two occasions.
In the second match, Tamil Nadu scraped past a fighting Bengal, 3-1, thanks to late strikes by Muthr Selvan, who got two of his teams goals. The winners were 1-0 up at half-time through a goal by A Kumar, who converted a penalty corner in the 30th minute.
However immediately after resumption, Bengal struck through Edmund Karkabla, who converted a penalty corner to draw level at 1-1.
Tamil Nadu then struck late in the game through Selvan, who converted two penalty-corners to make it 4-2.
In the third match at Ludhiana, Mizoram beat Kerala 4-1, after leading 2-0 at half-time. For the winners Laldyhawha scored a brace.
At Bhaini Sahib, Indian Airlines toyed with Himachal Pradesh, pumping in 10 goals in the first half and then another five after the breather.
For the winners, international Arjun Hallappa scored three goals while skipper Samir Dad, Lazarus Barla and Brozen Singh each got a brace.
Airlines converted five penalty-corners into goals.
In another match, Jammu and Kashmir had an easy outing against Tripura, winning 13-3, after leading 4-1 at half-time.
For the winners, Surinder, Gurjeet and Mandeep scored four goals each.
In the third match at Bhaini Sahib, Delhi and UP played a 1-1 draw. After a goalless first half, UP took the lead in the 64th minute through Imran Khan, and five minutes later, Delhi drew level through Jatinder Singh, who scored a field goal.