Youngsters desperately fighting for a place under the Sun
When half of the players of the national team debut at the World Cup and the squad is simultaneously opposed by a real hockey grand, which is the Czech squad, worrying thoughts evidently appear. The worst premonition in this case is that the team can get nervous, burn out and crumble; however, this didn’t happen with Andrey Skabelka’s team
By Igor Grishin
Even in the first period of the current championship, the players’ excitement was hardly felt. It was easier for the youngest team at the World Championship in Sweden, because the Czechs did not show anything extraordinary. The opponents played well with a puck and the game was held basically in our area, but there wasn’t so much work for the Belarusian goalkeeper Belinsky, who debuted in the fight with such a formidable opponent. Belinsky had to work a little bit more than the Czech goalkeeper Salбka. If we ignore the time when the Czech national team had a great numerical superiority, it turns out that the Czech goalkeeper had even more work.
Belarus began in Stockholm with the defeat from the Czechs, but this was a decent defeat. Meanwhile, something should be done with removals. There were too many of them for such a match and they happened mostly because of negligence. Nevertheless, Andrey Skabelka promised to talk to the team about this. In total, the current start reminded that of the last year, when the trainees of Kari Heikkilд fought with the Finns and lost, conceding only one goal.
Slovenian team was the second at this championship, and the Belarusian squad managed to take the revenge for the defeat in the Olympic qualification. The Belarusians again acted in defence while Slovenians tried to play in a mixed manner and looked sharper. David Rodman managed to distinguish himself first, attacking Vitaly Belinsky’s gates from the crease. Then, the Belarusians had a two-minute numerical advantage in a single player, but they used it unsuccessfully, just similar as their opponent did before. Then, the Slovenians did not use another chance, with Urbas failing to score. The Belarusians created something similar and Alexander Kitarov, who was led to an advantageous position by Alexander Kulakov, of course, had to score, but the puck hit the goalkeeper’s shield.
Anyway, Slovenia distinguished first. After a multi-pass combination, breaking the defence of Belarusians, Razingar scored into the empty net. The team of Matjaž Kopitar was to win the period, but Ms. Fortune has its own quirks. Ilya Kaznadey scored into the Slovenian goalkeeper Kristan’s net and equalled the score. At the last minute, the Belarusians could even go ahead, but the opponents were saved by a goalpost.
The Belarusian team won the second period. Razignar could make Slovenia the leader, but Belinsky did his best. He moved to a far goalpost and closed the corner. Then Alexander Kulakov won the fight behind the net and made a pass to Alexander Kitarov, who attacked the corner after a pause. Advantage in the score didn’t add confidence to the guys and they spent nervously the rest part of period.
A break allowed to rest, but our gates were scored at the beginning of the third period. Fortunately, a minute later, the Slovenians were in the minority, and the Belarusians finally used their numerical advantage. Andrey Filichkin played successfully on finishing after Andrey Stas’ pass.
The game remained exciting. At one of the moments, when Vitaly Belinsky could not help out the team, Roman Graborenko saved the situation, hitting with his hand the puck flying directly into the net. Nevertheless, they didn’t manage to keep score of 3:2. Ilya Kaznadey became only the second removed player, but this could become fatal – as Sabolič scored from the best position.
After this score, the Belarusians finally woke up and seemed to remember who is above the class and whose players perform in KHL clubs. In the next shift, they literally swept away the opponent’s defence. The second wave of attack to Kristan’s gates resulted in Ugarov’s scoring the goal.
In the remaining time, the Slovenian team coach replaced goalkeeper with a sixth field player, but the score did not change — 4:3 — in favour of the Belarusians team.