BRASOV, Romania – Last year Austria had its worst-ever finish in the World U18 Championship that ended with relegation to Division II. Now the Austrians have made their way back to Division I with five wins in five games and an impressive 56-3 goal record.
The Eagles showed that they didn’t want to belong in Division II any longer than necessary, as they encountered no difficulties in any of the five games of the Division II Group A, played in the brand-new Brasov Arena in Romania.
The tightest game was the first one, a 5-1 win against Croatia. The Austrians steamrolled over its competitors from Serbia (12-0), Estonia (10-0) and New Zealand (21-0) before facing host Romania for the deciding game of the two undefeated teams.
While the Romanians had 27 shots on goal, the score became lopsided early as the Austrians took a 4-0 lead after 14 minutes, forcing the host team to an early change of goalkeepers. Captain Patrick Obrist and his linemate Alexander Cijan had two goals each in an 8-2 victory.
While the Austrians were dominating whenever they played, there was some spotlight left for the other teams and players to impress in the other games. Estonia’s Jevgeni Missenjov was the best goal scorer with ten goals, including five from the last game. He had 15 points, same as his teammate Artjom Gornostajev (4+11) and Romania’s Roberto Gliga (6+9), who won the Best Forward award.
Four Austrians followed in the scoring stats with 12 points each, including Nicolas Paul, who received the award for the best defenceman. Croatia’s Andrej Vasiljevic won the Best Goalkeeper award with a 92.37 save percentage.
One of the tightest games was the one that eventually decided the silver and bronze medal winners. Romania led 2-0 against Croatia, but the Croats reacted with a shorthander at 24:24, two minutes after Romania’s second goal, and they equalized in the third period.
Romania had bad luck in overtime when the home squad didn’t capitalize on six scoring chances, but they eventually succeeded in the shootout with Zsombor Molnar’s second goal of the night.
Estonia finished fourth – one place better than last year at the expense of Serbia, thanks to a 17-1 victory in the head-to-head game on the last day. New Zealand has to go back to Division III after losing all their games.Final Ranking:
6. New ZealandIndividual Awards as selected by the Tournament Directorate:
Best Goalkeeper: Andrej Vasiljevic, Croatia
Best Defenceman: Nicolas Paul, Austria
Best Forward: Roberto Gliga, Romania
More information: Scores & Stats
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