Romania roars to victory
by Henrik Manninen|29 APR 2019
Gergo Biro (centre) had a goal and assist as Romania came back from two goals down to edge Japan 3-2.
photo: HENDRIK SOOTS
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Romania rallied back from two goals down to claim a fine win over Japan on the second day of the 2019 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship Division I Group B.

With 3:23 left of the tie, blueliner Alpar Sallo became Romania´s hero of the afternoon. His 3-2 strike completed the fightback against Japan as Romania remains undefeated after two games in Tondiraba Icehall in Tallinn.

Gergo Biro notched a goal and assist while Tamas Reszegh also tallied for Romania. Patrik Polc enjoyed a fine afternoon in the yellow jersey of Romania stopping 25 shots.

Having finished fourth in Division IB in 2012 and 2013, Romania now appears to be on course to equal or even improve those results from earlier this decade.

"We have a good group of players and we feel good playing in this division. Where this can this end? It can end anywhere, anyone can beat anybody, but I hope we can get into the top three," said Romania´s captain Roberto Gliga.

Yushi Nakayashiki and Kohei Sato got Japan´s markers. Despite giving away a two-goal lead, Japan is far from giving up on promotion.

"It´s was a tough game and the result is going to hurt us, but the tournament is far from over with three games to go. We have to fix what went wrong and just keep going," said Japan´s Yuki Miura.
Japan vs. Romania - 2019 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship Division I Group B
Romania earned a memorable 3-2 win against favoured Japan to open Day 2 at the Division I Group B.
JPN ROU 29 APR 2019
A lot of hard skating was expected from the Romanians in order to quell Japanese trademark breakaways.

Japan who enjoyed most of the puck possession in the first frame drew first blood 13:16 into the contest.
Keigo Minoshima worked along the boards to Tetsuya Saito from the left faceoff circle to Nakayashiki who one-timed it from the slot past Polc.

Passive Romanian defending saw Japan stretch their lead with 2:10 left of the frame. Minoshima was once again involved, supplying the feed to Kohei Sato on the blueline who cut into the slot past Ede Mihaly and dispatched wrister glove side past Polc.

"We did expect them to come hard at us, so we had to play a lot of defense and get our feet moving because they are really quick players, but once they slowed down a bit we managed to play better," said Romania´s Gliga.

In a spirited second frame, Romania outshot Japan 8-6. Despite spurning a golden opportunity to get back into the game when Daniel Tranca hesitated with a penalty shot at 30:55, they soon got their reward for their endeavor.

Just as an efficient Japanese penalty kill appeared to come and end, Romania got back into the game. Yuri Terao was just about to step back out on the ice after serving a two-minute hooking call as 38-year-old Goga´s shot was tipped home by Reszegh and a deflection past Michikazu Hata with 6:45 left of the frame.

49 seconds later, Romania got on level terms. Japan got caught dithering with the puck on center ice, Balazs Peter snapped up the puck combined with Mircea Constantin to feed Biro who ripped a wrister high on Hata´s blocker side.

In last year´s edition of the same competition, it was a Japanese overtime goal that in the end separated the two teams. This time around it was Romania´s time to rejoice.

The killer blow came after Biro burst into attacking zone, picked out Sallo whose low shot find a way through Hata´s five-hole.

With 2:27 left and with Anton Butochnov serving a hooking minor, Japan head coach Yuji Iwamoto called for a timeout. Despite sustained pressure and with Hata pulled from the net with 75 seconds to go, Romania held out for a memorable win.

Following a day off, Romania´s medal credentials will come to a severe test as Poland awaits, while Japan will draw breath and hope to bounce back to winning ways against hosts Estonia.
Japan vs. Romania - 2019 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship Division I Group B