Now words needed for game
It was not so difficult to predict the Belarusian team’s mood after its match against Finland
Andrey Stepanov enjoyed a wonderful chance to save the match, by equalising at the end of the third period. However, his shot hit the bar.
Finns imposed rugged defence in game
“What can I say? It’s offensive to lose such matches. We led the game, but missed illogically. We could have won but lost as a result. We lacked the realisation of the moment and even had bad luck. We created plenty of possibilities but failed to realise any. It’s impossible to win without scoring.”
Your team failed to score much today. Is this Finland’s merit or your failure?
The Finns usually play closely to one another, leaving little space for scoring. Overall, they limit the freedom of action and wisely occupy positions. These are true Finns: experienced rivals. We should never forget this.
Did you know the result of the Latvia-USA (4:3) match before the game? Did the Latvians’ performance put you on alert?
Of course, we knew that they had won. However, we try not to pay attention to other teams’ performances. We pursue our own goals — aiming to win and paying no attention to our rivals.
Did you set your minds on winning?
Definitely! We always do this. Beginning a match without motivation is not the best way to start. Sadly, our penalties were silly and the last probably broke our remaining chance win. However, we cannot now change what happened.
Kevin Lalande was probably among the brightest players of the match. The Belarusian team’s debutant came on the rink unexpectedly for many. Until then, he had not played a game. However, it’s wrong to blame him for the missed goal. In the second half, the goalie saved the Belarusians: after losing his hockey stick and orientation, after a tough collision with Leo Komarov, he caught the puck with his hands. Kevin stopped in the mix-zone but it’s a true challenge for him to find proper words.
When did you learn that you’d defend goals?
This happened after our morning training. As a result, I had no time to strongly worry or feel pleased with an opportunity to demonstrate my abilities.
Was this decision a surprise for you? You failed to participate during the first matches.
My coach told me to be ready any time.
There is also no need to throw stones at Vladimir Denisov. Our defender spent more time on the rink than anyone else. His confident action truly contributed to the hosts’ chances to eventually win — which stands high of course.
The Finns always look a strong team. Which squad — against which you have already played — looks the strongest to you?
I have no answer. Each team plays differently, and all demonstrate a high level. No simple matches exist.