#2017BELFAST: FOCUS ON ESTONIA

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ESTONIA
WORLD RANKING: 28th
LAST YEAR: 5th in IIHF World Championship Division 1 Group B
COACH: Jussi Tupamaki

As the countdown to the historic World Championship Division 1 Group B in Belfast begins, we take a look at the six teams who will play in the first men’s World Championship in the UK for 25 years. We now feature Estonia…

Estonia arrive in Belfast after two successive fifth-placed finishes in World Championship Division 1 Group B in Netherlands and last year in Croatia.

After slumping to their joint-lowest ranking of 29th in 2014, promotion that year saw their reemergence begin.

Last year, Estonia had to pull out a final-day win over Romania to stay in the third tier at the expense of their opponents on the final day.

An opening-day 7-2 defeat by Lithuania was followed by a plucky 4-3 loss at the hands of GB, but that only tells half the story.

Estonia took a point from a 4-3 overtime defeat as they came from 3-1 down to tie the game in the third period.

Ukraine were too good for Estonia and waltzed to a 7-1 success, while there was also a 5-3 defeat by Croatia.

It meant a must-win game against Romania and Estonia shut the door with a 3-0 victory.

Estonia’s Robert Rooba led the tournament with four goals and four assists for eight points in five matches.

Twenty-three of the country’s 798 male hockey players will be on show in Belfast as they look to build on their two recent fifth-placed finishes.

Rooba is likely to be their dangerman again and not only led the World Championship scoring in Croatia last year, but grabbed a remarkable 28 points (12+16) in six Olympic preliminary qualifying matches in the last 18 months.

Photo credit: Colin Lawson.