Latvia beat Japan 3-0 in the final and secured the cup trophy – Belarus turned 0-3 against Romania in a 4-3 and finished third place – Lithuania reached rank 5 after a 6-3 victory over Estonia.
In the final of the Baltic Challenge Cup 2018, Latvia and Japan faced each other. However, the Japanese could muster only three lines, which will not make things easier. The first few minutes were in mutual sampling, no team wanted to avoid a quick goal. The best opportunities had Furuhashi for Japan and Latvia Grinbergs just before the break It was a goalless first third.
After the break, Latvia strengthened the pace. For the time being Sirokovs or Misjus forgave their chances. In a power play shortly before the middle of the period fell the first Latvian goal – Grinbergs utilizes a pass from Sirokovs to 1-0 (28.). Latvia remained the better team and Japan was punished. Minutes before the second break, it was a match of the lead: Grinbergs on Sirokovs and it was 2-0 (36.). Latvia have now lost to unoriented Japanese, but Siksnis scores over the goal and Bernhards fails Goalie Hata.
The Japanese were still not beaten and tried again to come into the game. Latvia was taken by surprise and fined. Japan, however, not consistent enough and the only good opportunity had Minoshima, who put his shot close to the goal. Latvia was more effective in this game – power play, Sirokovs on Ozols and it was 3-0 (47.). That was the final decision. The Japanese defeated and Latvia managed the result to the very end, celebrating the title in the 2018 Baltic Challenge Cup.
Japan vs. Latvia B 0-3 (0-0, 0-2, 0-1)
The match for third place between Belarus and Romania should be an exciting one, with a great catch-up hunt of a great playing team from Belarus. Romania was the dominant team right from the start – Szombor, Biro and Botono initially missed their chances. Belarus in the first third barely existed, followed by the logical leadership for Romania by Tranga (15). Romania had a power play shortly before the break, but was lucky not to capture a shorthander – Feklistov and Slysh missed their chances to equalize.
The Belarusians came into the game better after the break – Pukhlovski forgives for the time being, as does Marschonak. After an inattention, Belarus caught the next goal – Szombor plays on Gliga and it was 2-0 for Romania (30). Now the team Belarus woke up – Abmiotka, Samokhin and Slysh could not put their opportunities into goals. A few minutes before the break, it was Samokhin and Marchanka – they also fail Goalie Hleb.
When Romania set 3-0 after Hirgea restarted, everyone thought the game was over (42.). Not so the Belarusians. Scarcely a minute later, Voitsekhav succeeds in scoring the 1-3 (43.) goal. This gate was a wake-up call and the Belorussians started now. Feklistov, Charavach have more chances. In minute 54 it was time – Maslukov scored the 2-3 – and the Romanians were suddenly out of the game. Only 24 seconds later Feklistov managed the deserved equalizer to 3-3 (54.). Belarus was back in the game. Romania acted too timid now – only Balasz found before a Chance. Three minutes before the end of the assault of the Belarusians was rewarded – Marchanka takes a heart and the puck and meets alone in a 4-3 (57.) – Belarus had turned the game. Romania was too shocked after this hit and did not react anymore. This brings the team from Belarus third place in this tournament.
Belarus B vs. Romania 4-3 (0-0, 0-2, 4-1)
In the match for fifth place Lithuania and Estonia faced each other in the “little Baltic Derby”. The local hero started right through and went through Verenis after three minutes with 1-0 lead. This goal gave further impetus and Lithuania worked on opportunity by chance – Estonia’s goalie Koitmaa could not complain about underemployment. Shortly before the break Bosas increased with a sharp shot to 2-0 (18.).
Lithuania did not change their style after the break and EHC Kloten striker Krakauskas scored the 3-0 (24.). A little later, Estonia made it to the net by an inattentiveness – Arrak takes over a pass from Novikov and outclasses Goalie Lubys – 1-3 (26.). For the young 18-year-old Lithuanian goalie, who plays for the U20 of SaiPa in Finland, it was the first match in the national team and he did a very good job. Estonia continued after Lubys was mostly the last stop. 24 seconds before the second break Aleksandrov manages the 2:-3 (40.) and made it exciting for the final third again.
Lithuania had a power play in the final third after a few seconds – and Gintautas scored 20 seconds (4-2) (42). Three minutes later, the hosts had again power play and this is also used – Bosas with his second goal this evening for 5-2 (45th). This was a preliminary decision in this game. When Bendzius scored the 6-2, the game was finally in favor of Lithuania. The first goal from Rooba to 3: 6 (51), was only result cosmetics. With this victory, Lithuania takes fifth place in the final settlement.
Lithuania vs. Estonia 6-3 (2-0, 1-2, 3-1)