International Ice Hockey Federation

Croatian comeback

Team still in medal race

Published 18.04.2015 21:02 GMT+2 | Author Joeri Loonen
Croatian comeback
Henrik-Villem Koitmaa watches a puck fly over the net. Photo: Thijs de Witte
Two goal deficits have become the tournament's favourite score to stage a comeback. Croatia is latest team to overcome a 2-0 score, they beat Estonia 5-2.

Having been at the wrong end of a two-goal comeback themselves against Great Brittain, Croatia managed to stage their own comeback. They overcame a shock start against Estonia to remain very much in the medal race.

Ryan Kinasewich had two goals for Croatia while Andrew Murray had a goal and three points.

The game did not start well for Croatia who came off a surprising loss against the Netherlands.  The team was unfortunate to see Estonia's first two shots of the game result in a goal.

Six minutes into the game, Andrei Makrov created room for himself and was found by defenseman Michael Mahkwa Auksi. The veteran sniper showed his skill with a perfect shot into the top corner. Croatia responded with a Ryan Kinasewich shot that rang off the iron.

Estonia didn't run out of luck yet. Artur Fedoruk's pass in front of net was met by the skate of Igor Jacmenak and deflected into the net tended by Mark Dekanich. It forced coach Don MacLean to already his time-out barely ten minutes into the game.

"I actually felt our guys were playing very well upon that point," confessed MacLean. "We finally stuck to te game plan and the guys were working hard. We conceded two unlucky goals and I felt I needed to call a timeout to have the team settle down and find their focus again."

While the Estonia fans in the stands were already setting up a small party, Croatia did something back when Andy Sertich cleverly pulled back the puck from behind the net giving Ryan Kinasewich an empty net to score in.

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A much more determined Croatia side came out of the locker room for the second period and they were able to complete a three goal comeback. First Nathan Perkovich saw his blast from the point flew by Koitmaa followed by a late second period goal by Matija Milicic.

The 3-2 lead was not going to be given away by the Croatians who are now sitting on a bronze medal position and still have possibilities for more if they are to beat Korea tomorrow.

Kinasewich scored his second of the game to turn the game definitely in Croatia's favour, connecting to a Andrew Murray feed from behind the net. Murray concluded the game with an empty net goal.

Estonia tried to still get something out of the game, but similarly to previous games this tournament, their hard work did not get rewarded. The team has received positive reviews for their play but also after four games, the team is still pointless. Their fate will be sealed if the Netherlands will manage to get at least a point against great Britain later today, else Estonia can only survive in this group with a win in regular time against the hosts tomorrow. 

Croatia is playing for silverware. Currently sitting in third position they can mathemetically still claim gold. In a direct match-up against Korea tomorrow, the team can at least ensure a silver medal, which would be a repeat of last year.

"It should be an interesting game tomorrow," thinks MacLean. "The final outcome will be determined by which Croatia team we will see on the ice against Korea. If it's the one from the Netherlands game then thumbs down, if it's the one of today then I'm confident we can match Korea."