Despite a slow start, Estonia cruised to a 4-3 win over France at IIHF World Championship Division I Group A action here on Sunday.
France had the early momentum and took a 1-0 lead near the close of first period on a power-play goal by Vincent Bachet and then expanded to 2-0 advantage 5:51 into the second period after Anthoine Lussier deflected Luc Tardif's pass through Estonian goaltender Oleg Monin.
It took the Estonians just 1:29 later to respond, Andrei Makrov had a simple tap-in of the puck after being set up by Aleksandr Petrov.
Spurred on by the goal, the Estonians dominated the rest of the period with two more goals from Andrei Makrov in the stanza to even the score 3-3 in spite of Laurent Meunier added France their third goal midway in the period.
Penalty trouble haunted the Estonia in the period, but France failed to capatalize on the one-man advantage and neither found the net further.
Estonia scored three times out of three attempts to earn the 1:0 overtime victory as the match came to the shootout decider.
To Estonian coach Jorma Raisanen, this is a surprising award. " We are a young team. I am very happy when the players rallied back from two goals down and held off the French team in the shootout," said Raisanen. "How much more can you expect from them."
French head coach Dave Henderson was disappointed with the result. "Luck is not with us today, so we lost. We got a very promising start, but three goals from our opponents in the second period just demoralized our players," said Henderson.
"The shootout was also a setback for us, but generally I think it won't affect us too much and we need to play well in following games."
In the other game finished earlier, Kazakhstan crushed China 12-0 to set up a provisional lead in the group.