Romania spoils party
by Henrik Manninen|28 APR 2019
Plenty of reasons to smile for Romania after toppling Estonia after penalty shots.
photo: HENDRIK SOOTS
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Romania´s Szilard Rokaly opened and closed the scoring as Romania upset and downed Estonia after penalty shots at the opening day of the 2019 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship Division I Group B.

Eight rounds were required before 20-year-old Rokaly´s penalty shot separated the teams as Romania recorded a 4-3 win against Estonia and valuable two points on board.

"It was a really tough and fun game to play. They really had much better opportunities to score and pressed us very hard down in our zone, but we managed to come back and score more goals than them," said Romania´s captain Roberto Gliga.

Inspired goaltending by Patrik Polc who blocked 36 shots and was voted Romania´s Best Player of the Game as they had to survive long spells of pressure to get their hands on two points.

Attila Goga and Pavel Borysenko also converted for Romania in regular time play.

"The way we dominated most of the game, I believed that we would win this game. But we were a little careless at times," said Alexandr Ossipov.
Romania vs. Estonia - 2019 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship Division I Group B
Host nation Estonia started the Division I Group B with a loss. Romania won 4-3 in a shootout!
ROU EST 28 APR 2019
With Estonia´s capital hosting the event for the first time since 2006, all Estonian goals were fittingly scored by Tallinn-natives. Robert Rooba and Andrei Makrov tallied 1+1 while blueliner Silver Kerna also got also on the scoresheet.

But it was Romania who silenced the home crowd at 7:22. Tamas Reszegh backhand pass from the left faceoff circle found Rokaly at the far post who converted Romania´s opener past Villem-Henrik Koitmaa.  

Having managed to stave off a penalty kill with Borysenko serving a tripping call at 14:59, Romania soon after stretched their lead. Gliga found Huba Bors on right point who fed Goga who one-timed the 2-0 goal on Koitmaa´s glove side from the left faceoff circle.

Having played for the gold medals last year and with the game broadcasted live on Estonian national television, the hosts turned on the show in the middle frame.

Lively Robert Arrak had weaved himself through the Romanian rearguard before soon after Estonia got on the scoresheet after a finely worked move. Ossipov picked out Makrov with a cross-ice pass who with pin-point precision got Estonia back in the game with a wrister from the right faceoff circle 7:26 into the middle frame.

With the momentum with the Estonians, they soon got their reward as Rooba stepped up a gear, tore down along the right boards, cut inside to slot home the tie-breaker at 30:33.

The goal invigorated the hosts even more as Romania´s Polc was forced to make a string of fine saves. Estonia, led by the on-fire Rooba had an array of chances before the end of the frame as the game appeared to tilt over into Estonia´s favour.

"The second period was very tough. They clearly had the edge there. for that period we just tried to survive until the end. In the third period we just had to erase what we did in the second period," said Gliga.

2:24 into the final frame Gliga picked out Borysenko who roofed a wrister from the right faceoff circle high past Koitmaa.

The Estonians drew even at 9:24 into the third period when Rooba from the right boards, picked out blueliner Kerna between three players in the slot who dispatched Estonia´s tying marker.

With Saveli Novikov´s minor holding call at 59:58, it gave Romania a golden opportunity to covert on a one-man advantage in overtime. Instead, it was Lauri Lahesalu who went closest on a two-on-one with Aleksandr Petrov before Romania in the end collected the two points thanks to Rokaly´s winning penalty strike.

With one point on board, Estonia will be back in action tomorrow against the Netherlands.

"We need to believe in ourselves and also improve our powerplay a bit more for the next game. More intensity and more pucks on the net. With more pressure on and around the net will be the key in our next game.

Boosted by a fine opening day performance, Romania will next up take on Japan.
Romania vs. Estonia - 2019 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship Division I Group B