TALLINN, Estonia – The Romanian U20 national team won the 2012 IIHF Ice Hockey U20 World Championship Division II Group B already before the last day thanks to its clean 4-0 record.
The Romanians clearly won their key games against the other medallists, Estonia (8-2) and Serbia (9-3), and had even more lopsided wins against Australia (11-1) and Mexico (10-1) en route to gold and promotion.
Romania counted on a strong performance from its first line. Roberto Gliga, who plays in the highest Swedish junior league for Tingsryds AIF, scored seven goals in four games, same as his linemate Matyas Biro, who left Romania to develop at Slovakia’s HK Nitra last year.
Both underagers are eligible to return to next year’s U20 team that will play in the Division II Group A.
Romania will play its last game on Friday against fourth-ranked Belgium. While this game will not change the placement of either team, the other games in Tallinn promise to be more dramatic.
Host Estonia and Serbia both have nine points and their head-to-head game at 20:00 will decide who will take home the silver medals, and who will have to settle for bronze.
Estonia has one of the tournament’s most talented players on its team. With ten goals and four assists in four games, Robert Rooba leads the championship both in points and goals. He left his hometown Tallinn at age 15 to cross the Gulf of Finland. He joined the Espoo Blues where he plays for the U20 team since last year – and he has still one more year of U20 eligibility left.
Australia and Mexico will battle for fifth place and to avoid relegation to Division III. Mexico is currently fifth with one point, earned from a shootout loss against Belgium while Australia has zero points, but the better goal record. But all this doesn’t matter in the end as it will be a true winner-takes-it-all match between these two teams.
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