Romania finishes in third place
by Adam Steiss|09 FEB 2020
Romania was the lowest seed going into Group J but managed to secure third place. 
photo: Ian Offers

Romania defeated Estonia 7-3 to secure a consolation victory at the Olympic Pre-Qualification Round 3 Group J tournament.

Daniel Tranca scored a hat trick as the bottom-seeded Romanians finished their Group J campaign in third place. 

With both teams having lost their previous two games, today’s matchup was for bragging rights. Romania struck first with an early goal from Anton Butochnov, his second of the tournament. Pablo Borusenko held the puck along the blue line inside the Estonian zone, and found Butochnov with a pass as he dropped down behind the Estonian defender, getting open to the net before calmly roofing it home with a backhand shot for the 1-0 lead.

Estonia replied a minute later, the goal coming from a low wrister from the point by Eduard Slessarevski, which got through the legs of goalie Zoltan Toke and dribbled over the goal line to tie things up.

Then Estonia added another just over the midway point of the game with a beautiful end-to-end goal from Denis Saskin. Saskin took the puck in alone through the netural zone, and proceeded to blow past three Romanian players to get on net. The last defenceman tripped up Saskin who nevertheless was able to get off a shot while falling to the ice for an exceptional score to give his team its first lead of the game.

But Romania knotted the game up again late in the first period, with a slapshot from the point that beat goaltender Roman Shumikin through the five-hole.

The teams stayed tied until just over midqay through the second period when some bad luck set the Estonians down a goal. Romanan defenceman Attila Goga dumped the puck into the Estonian zone and just as Shumikhin went to intercept it from the back of the net, the puck bounced off the boards and right in front of an open Estonian net for the easy goal by Szilard Rokaly.

Romania added one more before the end of the frame, as Balazs Peter found Daniel Trance with a breakout pass form the neutral zone just as their penalty kill expired. Tranca beat Shumikhin with a nice deke to put his team up 4-2.

The Romanians took control of the game in the third period, as Tranca scored his second of the game, on a 2-on-1 feed from David Molnar. Following the goal, an injury to Shumikhin forced the Estonian netminder out of the game.

Estonia cut the lead to 5-3 off a fortunate bounce, when an attempted backhand pass from behind the net by Roman Andrejev was deflected by the stick of Romanian defenceman Yevhen Yemelianenko into the goal. But Romania answered with a second goal from Butochnov off of a great effort to dance around two Estonian defenders and fake out the goalie to put his team back up by three goals. Tranca added another goal to complete his hat trick and eventually close out the 7-3 win. 

Romania vs. Estonia - 2020 Men's Olympic Qualification Group J