Dave Lewis: ‘Determining the fate of important game in penalty shootouts is not the most reliable way’

Belarusian hockey players will not go to the Olympic Games in Pyeongchang
Belarusian hockey players will not go to the Olympic Games in Pyeongchang. In the final qualification match of the 4-year period, Dave Lewis’ team lost in a penalty shootout to Slovenia, with the score 2:3.

Bitterness of defeat

Before the important meeting, both teams had 6 points. While Belarusians had a small advantage as they played at home with the support of the crowded stands. The fans were at their best supporting the national team and packed the Minsk-Arena. The team started the game confidently against the Slovenes, but they defended well. Belarusian Mikhail Karnaukhov went out during the last line of defence. The young goalkeeper showed a good game, but couldn’t help his team. At the end of the first period, Roman Grabovenko broke the rules, then a minute later after the start of the second period, Andrey Stas also went into the penalty box. The attack leaders from the Slovenian team, Rok Tičar and Anže Kopitar, quickly understood the situation. Slovenia gained the advantage, and tried to keep it until the final buzzer.

On that Sunday evening, the hosts also scored as Andrey Stepanov managed to reduce the gap. After the break, the Slovenes had a chance to increase their advantage, yet Jan Urbas did not manage to make a penalty shot. Soon the Belarusian defender Nick Bailen made a hard slap shot, while Andrey Stepanov corrected the trajectory of the puck. In extra time the game continued under the new rules of three attempts each. “Unfortunately, winning an important match in a penalty shootout is not the most reliable way. We should have secured the game before this lottery. In extra time Geoff Platt missed a great opportunity, however, we must give credit to the opposition. The Slovenes gave us a good match,” said Dave Lewis. The coach also said that the penalty shooters from the Belarusian team had been chosen in advance, and there was no intention to change them.

By Semen Bondarev
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