International Ice Hockey Federation

Croatia gets first win

Croatia gets first win

Host beats Romania in goal galore

Published 21.04.2016 08:14 GMT+2 | Author Henrik Manninen
Croatia gets first win
Croatia,Zagreb, 20.04.2016.WM Div IB IIHF ICE HOCKEY WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP Romania-Croatia Photo:Igor Soban
Host Croatia earned its first win in the 2016 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship Division I Group B beating Romania 12-5

Homecoming Borna Rendulic led Croatia in scoring with 1+3. Ivan Jankovic notched 2+1 while David Brine and Michael Glumac both recorded 1+2.

Romania who had difficulties scoring all season now found the back of the net on five occasions with Hunor Csergo leading the way with a goal and two markers.

In a game between two teams seeking their first win, 17 goals was shared between them as porous defensive displays from both teams left a lot to be desired.

Romania was forced to replace first choice goalie Gellert Ruczuj halfway into the first frame, while Croatia's starting netminder Mate Tomljenovic was replaced with 10:21 left of the game to give way to Vilim Rosandic.

"The biggest thing I wanted was for our team to play hard, with passion and come out and play the way we did in our first two games and they did that tonight" said Croatia head coach Alan Letang.

Letang who had requested his players to avoid conceding an early goal and get pucks deep to put pressure on Romania's defencemen, saw Croatia get off to a good start and get in command right from the outset.

Borna Rendulic and Mislav Blagus, who played together at both junior and senior level for Croatia, were now re-united and they both had an assist after just 66 seconds as a drive from the right point by team captain Igor Jacmenjak found the back of the net.

Croatia's second was added when Matija Milicic's backhand found a way past Ruczuj to double Croatia's lead.

A tap-in for Romania by Levente Lorincz after fine work by Zsombor Molnar and Levente Zsok cut down Croatia's lead to half at 16:11 but only seven seconds later Jankovic opened his scoring account at World Championship level to restore Croatia's two goal cushion.

When Romania's Robert Peter thundered down the left side and sees his backhand sneak in behind Tomljenovic to net Romania's second, the game is still very much in balance.

But after Borna Rendulic collected a Jacmenjak pass, whistled past Romania's Szabolcs Papp before hitting home 4-2 behind Otto Onodi the game tipped firmly over in Croatia's favour.

Goals then continued to arrive in a generously steady supply at both ends until defenceman Kenny MacAulay became Croatia's tenth and final player of the night on the scoresheet with 5:20 to go to set the final score at 12-5.

Having shipped a lot of goals so far, the omens are not looking good for newly promoted Romania. But despite the dismal outlook, Romania's head coach remain positive ahead of their final two games versus Great Britain and Estonia.

"During our first two games we played more defensively, and this is what we now might need to get back to," said Istvan Gereb. "I also hope that our first choice goalie who got injured early in this match will be able to return and as for the remainder of the tournament I remain optimistic."

Croatia who are up against Estonia next is now aiming for a second win in a row, but also raised a word of warning for Estonia and especially Robert Rooba, Aleksandr Petrov and Andrei Makrov who Letang labelled as "probably the best line in the tournament".


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