Most important is to make necessary conclusions
The Belarusians finished third in Group B
Before, the result of the match against the Russian national hockey team wasn’t of principal importance for Belarusians, but now much depended on its result, possibly even medals
On the day, both squads were playing without several leading players, with Alexey Kalyuzhny and Mikhail Grabovski absent in the Belarusian team and Alexander Ovechkin absent among the Russians. Meanwhile, Yevgeny Malkin debuted at the Minsk tournament. Unfortunately, by the end of the second period, our goalkeeper Vitaly Koval, who has saved his team many times in difficult situations, was injured during a clash with Pittsburgh’s forward, Malkin. Kevin Lalande, who replaced Koval, also did well at the last defence position, yet the same can’t be said about the Belarusian defenders who often made mistakes near the goal.
Oleg Znarok’s team dictated the play of the game, while Glen Hanlon’s boys primarily defended, and very rarely troubled Sergey Bobrovsky, the Russian goalie. Nevertheless, Belarusians managed to please their numerous fans. During the sixth minute of the last period, when the score was 2:0 in favour of the Russians, Vladimir Denisov scored after Alexander Kitarov’s perfect pass. By the end of the game, the Belarusians were pressing the Russian goal, but failed to take revenge. As a result, the major favourites of the tournament won due to their high class.
Therefore, the Belarusians finished third in Group B, after the Russians and Americans while the fourth ticket to the play-offs went to the national squad of Finland.