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WC div II Grp A

Blasting out of their blocks in each of their first four games proved enough for Romania to win gold at the 2015 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship Division II Group A on Iceland.

Four straight wins sealed Romania's place at the top ahead of the final round of games. Never falling behind on the score sheet in any of their games they saw off Serbia (8-4), Australia (5-1), Belgium (4-3) and Spain (7-1) to bounce straight back to Division I Group B following last year's relegation.

"We came here with one goal and that was to win gold so the rest should be history, but we were far too inconsistent and only really played one good period throughout the tournament," said Romania's head coach Kjell Lindqvist.

3-0 on the scoreboard and 15-2 in shots in Romania's favour after the first period against Belgium was a good as it got for Romanian in terms of a performance close to their full potential.

"We took the lead in each of our four games, but then fall into our opponents tempo while starting to believe we are the world champions. Mistakes are then made, we get punished for them and we have to try and start all over again," said Lindqvist.

After their clinically executed first frame against Belgium, it was followed by a lacklustre display for most of the ensuing two periods which in the end almost cost Romania all three points in what was their sternest test on route to the gold medals.

First a ferocious Vadim Gyesbreghs powerplay goal from the point flew past Romania's debutant goalie, 20-year-old Otto Onodi, at 2:09 of the second period to pull a goal back for Belgium. Less than four minutes later Belgian captain Jordan Paulus cut Romania's lead to a single goal to the dismay of Romania's head coach.

"They forechecked hard and we haven't got the quickest defencemen so it takes too long to play the first pass. But we have a first line led by Roberto Gliga, who showed their class throughout the tournament," said Lindqvist.

Gliga, who alongside his linemates Levente Zsok and Ede Mihaly spearheaded Romania's most lethal offensive weapon, was behind Romania's game-winning goal that downed Belgium. Zsok and Gliga combined nicely with the latter making it 4-2 for Romania at 3:15 of the third period before a fine Mitch Morgan solo effort brought nerves back into the game scoring Belgium's third. Despite late pressure, Romania rode out the storm to come out on top as 4-3 winners.

"Belgium was our toughest opponent," said Gliga. "It was a hard and tight game and you never know what could have happened if there would have been a few more minutes."

21-year-old Gliga, one of many players missing on last year's roster when a threadbare Romania team missing up to 15 players was relegated from the Division I Group B. This time around Lindqvist had a wider range of players at his disposal to choose from for his final roster.

"Last year the team was more or less only made up of players who either wanted to play or could play. Although we have five-six players who are back home for various reasons, we had a bigger selection to choose from this year," said Lindqvist, who among others welcomed back captain Attila Goga in defence but also introduced players from the next generation such as Daniel Tranca and Otto Onodi for their debut at this level.

"We have an aging team on paper and without mentioning any names there are players who have made their last appearances for the national team. Romania will have to start giving younger players the chance and now we will have to wait and see what Romanian Ice Hockey Federation will do for next season," said Lindqvist, who coached Romania at the Division I Group B last year and is well aware of what awaits next year.

"This type of performances we have put in here on Iceland are nowhere good enough for that level, but if we can get our things together then we are able to stay in the division," he said.

Vital for Romania's chances to stay up next year will be Gliga in shape, who despite his tender age already played two World Championships at Division I Group B level for his country, finishing fourth both in 2012 and 2013 and is ready to roll up his sleeves and do it all over again next year.

"We showed that we can do it in the past, so if we can get our full roster together and are ready to fight hard then I am sure we are going to manage to stay there next season," Gliga said.

 

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