If you attended the Division IIA World Juniors on Sunday, you surely weren’t disappointed as Lithuania followed up an exciting game between GB and the Netherlands this morning with a 6-5 shootout thriller over Romania.
Lithuania got the ball rolling just four minutes into the contest. Danielius Nomanovas, the Lithuania captain competing in his third U20 WJC tournament, opened the scoring after converting on a rebound created by defenseman Domantas Cypas. The lead would last just four minutes as Arnold Sillo got Romania on the board despite his team being down a man at the time.
The first period may have only seen two goals combined, but there was definitely not a lack of effort going on. Attila Adorjan, who has represented Romania in 15 games prior to the tournament, made 19 of his 50 saves in the first period. It turned out to be his busiest period, and if it wasn’t for him, the game would have been lost very, very early.
With Adorjan keeping Romania in the game, it was time for his teammates to help him out a bit. A minute into the second, Micrea Constantin gave Romania the 2-1 lead after beating Simas Baltrunas five-hole for the go-ahead marker. Three minutes later, Sillo got his third career WJC goal on the power-play, proving that he could score in most situations.
The lead wouldn’t make it out of the second period. At the halfway mark of regulation, Ilja Cetvertak put Lithuania within one on a power-play of their own. Cypas got his second point of the game with a point shot with three minutes left in the period, giving his team some much-needed momentum for the third and final period.
But it didn’t exactly translate the way they were hoping. Tibor Albert, who has only previously at the European Youth Olympic Festival, scored his first ever international goal to give his team the 3-2 lead early in the period. With seven minutes down in the third, Nomanovas got his second goal of the game on a penalty shot attempt, right after Romania’s Mihai Sotir missed on a penalty shot of his own,
The game looked to be over with two minutes to go. With two men in the box for Lithuania, Hugo Gecse’s monstrous point shot gave Romania the one goal lead heading into the dying minutes of action. However, the game truly wasn’t over. A minute later, with just 22 seconds remaining, Lithuania pulled Baltrunas in an attempt to force the game into extra time. That’s exactly what happened, as Ugnius Cizas fired the puck past Adorjan to tie the game up at five apiece.
Overtime solved nothing, and it almost looked like the shootout wouldn’t either. All three of Lithuania’s forwards would score in the skills competition, while Zoltan Molnar’s attempt got stopped on the final shot to give Lithuania the 6-5 victory. It surely didn’t come without an intense amount of effort, giving the 312 fans in attendance a game to remember in just the first day of the tournament.
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