Results of championship in the disfavour of team and its game
Belarusian hockey team head coach Andrey Skabelka comments on national squad’s 14th place at World Championship in Stockholm
By Yegor Glebov
“Our 12 players made their debut in Stockholm; they made their faces known while having the chance to see how they matched up. Our goalkeeper, Vitaly Belinsky, could become our number one player in the future. In fact, there were many positive moments. Early on in the championship, we played well against the Czechs, despite losing, and managed to defeat Slovenia. We played even better against Sweden, although we lost; our play was really quite perfect but youth was dominated by experience. For most, it was their first top level event and their heavy schedule also tired them. After a three day break, we played Canada, then Norway and Denmark. In the first half of the match against the Danes, our exhaustion was evident. We deserved our three points at the championship but could have done better against Denmark,” admits Mr. Skabelka.
Speaking of the Belarusian team’s tactics at the championship, the head coach stresses that, to succeed, one or two experienced team members are needed. The Czech team transformed on gaining Tomбš Plekanec, from Montreal, and has had 12 NHL players to date. Norway can hardly be called weak, while Belarus currently lacks such players. Over the past year, our squad has only won one match (of seven). Interestingly, the difference in scored and missed goals remains steady: in 2012, this stood at 11-23 and, this year, is 10-21.
However, a year ago, our team had an almost ideal line-up; now, it boasts ten novice players, making it the ‘youngest’ in Stockholm, with an average age of under 25.