Routine win for Estonia
by Henrik Manninen|29 APR 2019
Robert Rooba (centre) was on target for the second consecutive game as Estonia downs the Netherlands 4-1.
photo: HENDRIK SOOTS
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Goals in each period and four different scorers sees Estonia roll on to a 4-1 win at home ice at the 2019 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship Division I Group B.

Aleksei Sibirtsev, Christopher Usov, Jaanus Sorokin and Robert Rooba were on target for Estonia as they got their first win of the tournament in front of 1,952 played at Tallinn´s Tondiraba Icehall.

Outshooting their opponents 43-14, Villem-Henrik Koitmaa had a quiet night in the Estonian net with 13 saves.

Following their first win of the tournament Estonia has now amassed four points after two matches at the World Championship Division IB.

"This is a kind of do or die game and mentally difficult to play, but it was good for our attacking play and especially our powerplay," said Estonia head coach Jussi Tupamaki.

Estonia´s previous two meetings with the Netherlands at this level had been all about staying in the division. On both occasions the Estonians prevailed. In both 2015 and 2017 Estonia´s wins against the Netherlands kept them in the division and relegated the Dutch.

The 2019 vintage of the Estonian team harbours higher hopes than staving off relegation. In front of their home fans they got off to a fine start with Sibirtsev scoring Estonia´s first when firing high on the glove side past Martijn Oosterwijk at 4:10.

Despite Estonia dominating proceedings and winning the shots 13-4, the Netherlands showed intent when Ernesto Klem hit a slapper off the post before the first frame came to an end.
Estonia vs. Netherlands - 2019 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship Division I Group B
Host Estonia got its first win of the tournament in its second game, against recently promoted Netherlands.
EST NED 29 APR 2019
Barely had the home crowd found back to their seats as the Netherlands coverted only 11 seconds into the second stanza. Joey Oosterweld collected a pass from Bartek Bison and with Estonia´s Lauri Lahesalu on the backfoot the Dutch team captain slid the puck through the pads of Koitmaa.

The Dutch joy was not to last for long. Just 39 seconds later and from a Roman Andrejev feed, Usov boomed home from the top of the left faceoff circle for his first World Championship goal for Estonia as they went ahead 2-1.

Sorokin streched the lead to 3-1 with a slapper from the left point midway through the middle period as Dutch energy levels started to wane with a roster of only 15 skaters.

"It´s tiring, but I don´t think the players can complain about ice time. It is good for the young players at is develops you and it is always fun to play for your country," said Dutch blueliner Steve Mason.

6:20 into the third period, Rooba rounded off the scoring when converting from the right circle while on the powerplay.

4-1 it finished and with three rounds of games left, plenty is still at stake in front of an expectant home crowd in Tallinn.

"There´s a bit more excitement in these games playing at home compared to when we play these tournaments abroad. That´s only natural as we haven´t played at home for around ten years. There will be players here who might or will be playing their final tournament for their country, or at least their final home tournament," said Tupamaki.

The Netherlands now hope reinforcements will lift them up to safer ground. With Tilburg Trappers playing their final game of the season on Tuesday night, the Netherlands are expecting to have a handful of players available and turning up to help the Dutch cause for at least the final two round of games.

"It is going to be nice to have fresh legs, and it will give everyone a little bit more of a break. But I am not yet sure how many more games we have with the short roster," said Mason.

The Netherlands tangles with Ukraine in Wednesday´s first game, while Estonia takes on Japan in the late game.
Estonia vs. Netherlands - 2019 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship Division I Group B