TALLINN – Hungary won the 2013 IIHF Ice Hockey U18 World Championship Division II Group A to return to Division I Group B next year following a one-year hiatus.
Played at the Arena Premia in the Estonian capital, pre-tournament favourites Hungary had already wrapped up their gold medals ahead of the final round of games. Spearheaded by a solid defence and a free scoring first line of captain Csanad Erdely, Daniel Szabo and Ferenc Kocsis, the central Europeans proved to be too hot to handle for their opponents.
A solid 4-2 win in the opening round against Lithuania set the tone for Hungary. They followed it up by comfortably beating Great Britain 6-2 with Szabo grabbing a hat-trick, before facing the surprise package of the tournament, Croatia during the third day of the round-robin tournament
With both teams undefeated going into the game, a disciplined Croatian defensive display and inspiring goaltending from Vilim Rosandic saw the Hungarians enter the final frame with a fragile 1-0 lead thanks to first period Daniel Godo goal. But 4:27 into the third period Croatia's Luka Jarcov stunned the Hungarians to tie the game, but thanks to a late rally where Kocsis and Erdely combined for defenceman Mark Szaller's game winning goal with less than two minutes left on the clock saw Hungary claim their third straight win. Cruising to a 9-3 win against hosts Estonia during day four clinched the gold medals and promotion for the boys in red, white and green.
Fighting out for the remaining two medals behind the superior winners, Croatia downed Great Britain 5-3 in their final game which sealed second spot and a silver medal, an impressive leap forward for head coach Danijel Kolombo's youngsters following last year's battle against relegation. Romania finished third, despite going undefeated throughout the tournament within regulation and overtime, with 16-year-old goaltender Attila Adorjan capping a fine finish to the season to claim the best goalie award. Hungary's Szeller won the accolade for best defenceman while Kocsis was voted as the best forward.
Kocsis, who scored the game winning penalty shot in Hungary's final game against neighbours Romania, finished top of the scoring charts. He was closely followed by Erdely and Szabo, all three teammates at the Sapa Fehervar affiliated Gabor Ocskay Academy in Szekesfehervar. Tied with Szabo for third place was Great Britain's Bobby Chamberlain while Paulius Gintautas of Lithuania rounded out the top-five scoring leaders.
The hosts Estonia, who faced Lithuania in the relegation deciding final game of the tournament, had a 2-0 lead in front of their home support, but in the end Lithuania held out for a 5-5 draw and an ensuing win after penalty shots to relegate the winless Estonians to the 2014 IIHF Ice Hockey U18 World Championship Division II Group B.
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