Poland keeps dream alive
by Henrik Manninen|02 MAY 2019
A narrow 3-2 win versus Estonia means there is still hope for Polish promotion.
In their quest for a straight return to Division IA, Polish hopes are still well and truly alive.

Poland overcame a late scare as Estonia was downed 3-2 at the 2019 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship Division I Group B in Tallinn.

Filip Komorski notched a brace and Bartlomiej Neupauer also tallied for Poland. With Poland seemingly sitting comfortable with a 3-0 lead and heading into the final ten minutes of the game, Estonia mounted a late push.

Andrei Makrov and Robert Rooba scored Estonia goals as they charged ahead and came tantalizingly close in their search for a game-tying goal in front of 2,150 at Tondiraba Icehall.

With Poland weathering the Estonian onslaught, the prerequisites for Poland are straightforward with one round of games to go.

One more point than Romania will be required from their respective final round games in Tondiraba Icehall on Saturday.

"Not too much to be nervous about. It´s one game and one we need to win. We might make some changes to what we have done so far, let's see what we will come up with," said Poland head coach Tomek Valtonen.

Romania and Poland are level on 10 points at the top of the standings of Division IA. Romania have a slight edge following their overtime win against Poland this week.

Romania will kick off the last round of games on Saturday facing the Netherlands, which will be followed by Poland´s clash with Japan.

Japan is safe from relegation and can win a bronze medal at best. The Netherlands will desperately need something out of the game against Romania to have any chance of survival in the division.
Estonia vs. Poland - 2019 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship Division I Group B
EST POL 02 MAY 2019
"All credit to Romania who have won four games. But let´s see how the games on Saturday will go," said Valtonen.

Holding a slender 1-0 lead after a first-period goal by Komorski, Poland lived dangerously early in the third period against Estonia. With Arkadiusz Kostek serving a tripping call, Estonia saw Robert Arrak and Rooba go close on the powerplay.

Polish nerves were temporarily settled when Komorski once again pounced on sloppy Estonian defensive play and blasted a low drive from the slot past Villem-Henrik Koitmaa to double Poland´s lead 5:44 into the final frame.

1:45 later, Neupauer skated in from the left wing and unleashed a wrister high past Koitmaa as the game looked well and truly buried with three points heading in Poland´s favour.

But Estonia burst to life again on the powerplay, Makrov hit a trademark one-timer 10:13 into the third period from the left faceoff circle past John Murray in Poland´s net. The goal energized Estonia as Aleksei Sibirtsev won a battle with Patryk Wajda behind Murray´s net, fed to the puck to Arrak who assisted Rooba as he blasted home Estonia´s second with 7:08 left of the game.

In one of the most pulsating final frames of the tournament, Rooba found renewed energy as he burst through to round Murray´s net and picked out and onrushing Aleksandr Ossipov who failed to connect.

Despite pulling Koitmaa with 2:04 left and charging ahead frantically they ended up with no points on board in their second successive game in Division IB.

"This was the first game in the tournament where I felt some of the team weren´t nervous to play in front of the home crowd. Sadly we did not get any reward for it, but you need to respect the outcome," said head coach Tupamaki.

Estonia who last year played for gold when heading into their final game. This year they have a slight chance to equal last year´s third-place finish, but also to drop down a division. They are facing relegation-threatened Ukraine in the closing game of the tournament on Saturday.

"From these tournaments, you don´t promote or relegate by accident and you get what you earn. If we are able to play like we did tonight, we have nothing to fear against anybody," said Tupamaki.
Estonia vs. Poland - 2019 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship Division I Group B