After completely dominating the competition on home soil, the Estonian national hockey team will advance to Round Two of the Olympic Qualifiers in February.
There was no doubt from the start that Estonia were going to dominate the first round of the qualifiers, and after starting the tournament with a 19-1 destruction of Israel, it was clear how unevenly matched the event was going to be. Estonia then went on to up their own performance, beating the lowest ranked Bulgarian team 26-0 before eating Mexico 13-3 in the final game on Sunday.
With the high scoring nature of Estonia (which saw them score 58 goals in three games), it was not strange to see nine of the top ten scorers in the tournament come from the same nation. Robert Rooba led the way, scoring 11 goals and 24 points in the short tournament weekend, with 11 of his points coming during the big win over Bulgaria.
In Group L action, Serbia’s tournament wasn’t as dominated, by a 5-3 victory over Spain helped Serbia also move on to the second round. Dimitrije Filipovic led the way offensively, posting seven points in three games (including three points in the final game) to help put Serbia overtop of their Spanish rivals.
With the win in Group K, Estonia will now advance to Group H of the Olympic Qualification Preliminary Round, heading off to play Hungary, Poland and Lithuania in mid-February. Serbia, who will also move on, will have to meet much stronger competition in Group H, facing Italy, Great Britain and the Netherlands in a tournament they’ll definitely struggle in. The winners will then move on to the Final Olympic Qualification in September, with the Olympics set to take place in February of 2018.
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