Estonian sniper sends down Dutch
For years Makrov has shown he's a special player for Estonia. Tonight in a relegation battle game against the Netherlands, he shone again. Estonia coach Jussi Tupamäki knows he has to rely heavily on the 35-year old forward in order to reach the team's goal of staying up in this division. His three goals led Estonia past the hosts who find themselves relegated on home ice.
"This relegation doesn't come as a big surprise," admitted coach Chris Eimers. "We had it coming. It is important Dutch players find a roster spot abroad to play against tougher opponents than the domestic league while we should concentrate on bringing up new talents."
Late in the first period with the Netherlands having two players serving penalties, Makrov drew first blood. Receiving the puck on top of the left faceoff cirlce he let go of a perfect one-timer that flew in the top corner behind a bewildered Ian Meierdres.
Still on the power play, Estonia executed on the same play. Once again Makrov was wide open on the left to double Estonia's lead. Despite his team notching just a single win, Makrov finds himself in the top of the scoring charts with eigt points in five games which is quite remarkable given Estonia only having scored ten goals this tournament.
Looking relegation in the face, the Netherlands knew it had to do something back in the second period. Yet it was the Baltic country that had the best opportunities before an Erik Tummers shot from the blueline trickled in behind Roman Shumukhin via an Estonian stick.Continue reading
The goal brought back life in the Eindhoven arena, but not in the Dutch offense. Both Kevin and Mitch Bruijsten wasted glorious opportunities to tie the game, a result that would be sufficient for the Netherlands to stay up. Kevin Bruijsten came closest when he tried to tip in a rebound into an empty net but the puck slowly slide past the wrong end of the post for the Dutch forward.
Chris Eimers pulled his goaltender in a do-or-die effort but it backfired as Makrov was given an opportunity he does miss out on. His empty netter sent the Dutch into misery and back to Division 2A for the first time in 16 years.
"We got tons of chances but don't convert them," said alternate captain Ivy van den Heuvel. "We also were forced to kill off several penalties in the final period which didn't help our cause. It is very frustrating to go down when you know you can compete with most teams at this level."
If only the Dutch had their own Makrov.
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