Close to leaving elite

Defeat from Hungarians (2:5) deprived Belarusian hockey team of chances to play-off in the World Championship

Defeat from Hungarians (2:5) deprived Belarusian hockey team of chances to play-off in the World Championship
Defeat from Hungarians (2:5) deprived Belarusian hockey team of chances to play-off in the World Championship, hosted by Moscow and St. Petersburg


Hungary’s Andrew Sarauer celebrates after a first period goal on Belarus’ Kevin Lalande

Before the sixth match at the tournament, in Group B, Belarus’ captain, Alexey Kalyuzhny, injured his ankle, and defender Dmitry Korobov suffered from shoulder pains. The coaching team — led by Dave Lewis — had to think over a new line-up but failed to introduce serious changes into their trainees’ performance.

In just forty minutes of the match, the Belarusian hockey players lost four pucks and, in the final period, the fifth puck was even scored into an empty net. Gero Nadya, of Hungary, scored in the sixth minute and the Belarusians managed to equalise soon after, at Yubileiny Sport Complex in the 9th minute — after their rivals received a penalty, for tackling Andrey Stepanov. However, making a defence mistake, Mr. Lewis’ trainees missed the chance of a second goal, until the 13th minute, thanks to Jeff Platt.

After halftime, they went on the attack, with Artur Gavrus scoring again, making 2:2. Sadly, Belarus made several defence mistakes. Three minutes into the second half, Hungary scored twice. Moreover, frequent penalties made the Belarusians concentrate on defence, rather than attack.

Belarusian goalkeeper Kevin Lalande performed poorly, saving only 5 out of 9 pucks, demonstrating a low coefficient of reliability (55.56 percent). After the match, he had no excuses, just naming their performance ‘a shame’.

The head coach of the Belarusian national team — Dave Lewis — congratulated his colleague, Rich Chernomaz, and his players. Mr. Lewis noted that his trainees prepared for the tournament in the same way as last year but ‘failed to surprise anyone this time’. “Everyone was ready for us, while everything was different last year,” he added.

The Belarusian team has never before lost to Hungary, while the latter has failed to win the world championship division for 77 years. Last time Hungary celebrated victory among the strongest was on February 3rd, 1939 — defeating Belgium (8:1).

Losing five times in six matches, the Belarusian team has dropped to last place in Group B. If they lose to France in the final match, they’ll drop to Division 1.

By Igor Svitov
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