Game 8: ROU - EST / Photo: Sarunas Mazeika
Estonia hits winner with 53 seconds left
Excitement right until the very end as Riho Embrich breaks Romanian hearts as a lone goal is needed to separate the two teams.
Estonia's 1-0 win against Romania lifts them up to seven points after three games at the 2018 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship Division I Group B in Kaunas.
The last-gasp victory marks significant progress for Estonian hockey achieved during Jussi Tupamaki's four-reign as head coach.
"Every year I have been the coach for Estonia, there has been a chance of going down ahead of our last game. This is a new situation for us and in this respect, the pressure will be gone and now we can concentrate on developing our own game," said Tupamaki.
Villem-Henrik Koitmaa celebrated his second successive shutout for Estonia in Division 1B in Kaunas and has yet to concede a goal in 120 minutes of play.
Romania has now have played 14 straight games in Division 1B without a win. Against Estonia they came tantalisingly close and outshot their Baltic opponents 29-25.
"We were close but that doesn't count. It was bitter to lose at the last minute, we fought, but unfortunately, our heads were not clear enough to score on our really good chances. But Estonia managed to push really hard in the last few minutes," said a dejected Romania captain Roberto Gliga.
A see-saw battle during the two first frames had seen Robert Arrak go close for Estonia, while Romania's Daniel Tranca squandered a one-on-one following Huge Gecse's fine delivery.
Going into to the final period the game saw Tranca once again go through on goal but tried a pass instead of going for glory himself.
Soon after Romania was presented with a fine opportunity to kill the game. Estonia's Saveli Novikov was serving an interference call at 51:40 and when 22 seconds later he was joined by teammate Embrich, the game appeared to have tilted into Romania's favour.
Gliga went close and soon after the unlucky Tranca weaved himself through on goal and saw his effort being cleared off the line.
Before the afternoon was over the game took another twist. Andrei Makrov had first picked out Alexandr Ossipov in the slot who forced a fine save out of Romania's Patrik Polc.
Makrov once again was provider soon after when rounding Polc's cage to pick out Embrich who slammed home a one-timer that ruthlessly extinguished Romania's hopes
"It was a very good team we played today," said Estonia's head coach Tupamaki. "They were well prepared on how to play against us, played very disciplined and smart. In that respect this was the best tactical opponent we faced in this tournament," continued Tupamaki who are facing Croatia next on Friday.
Romania who still has Japan and Croatia left to play saw its depleted roster strengthened earlier today by four late additions. The arrival of Robert Ferencz-Csibi, Catalin-Adrian Berdila, Robert Timaru and Andrei Vasile can hopefully add more depth to the Romanian roster in their bid for survival.
"In this division it's really close, Estonia pushed Japan to overtime so we have our chance and we will give our all in the final two matches," promised Gliga.