For just the second time in U20 history, Romania will earn promotion to a higher group after winning the 2016 Division IIB World Juniors in Novi Sad, Serbia this past week.
The final game saw some of the best action of the tournament, with Romania beating Spain 6-5 on Saturday. Romania went into the third period leading 3-2, but after Spain scored two quick goals to put themselves on top, the squad had to put in a stronger effort. A late two-man advantage for Romania proved to be too much for the Spanish, who allowed a goal to Zoltan Sandor in the dying minutes to give Romania the edge and the victory when it mattered most.
The win proved to be very important for the Romans, who beat out Spain for gold. For Spain, it was a tough way to lose, as the team expected to take home the title after two straight second place finishes heading into the event.
Norbert Rokaly dominated the scoring charts throughout the tournament, leading the way with 19 points in just five games. Oriol Rubio finished on top for Spain, posting 14 points in five games en route to a silver medal. Spanish netminder Ignacio Garcia ended up getting the top goalie award after winning all but the final game while finishing with a .905 SP% and 2.76 GAA.
Romania will return to Division IIA for 2017 after getting relegated from the group back in 2015. Romania have now won both Division IIB tournaments they have competed in since the current tournament structure took shape, wining gold at the 2012 edition of the tournament.
On the flip-side of success, China failed to record a single point to be relegated for next year’s event. China wont be in Division III for long if history is on their side, having won all three of their U20 medals at that level since 2007. Mexico will move up in their place for the upcoming year after five wins in six games on home ice last week.
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