International Ice Hockey Federation

Belarus pulls away, 5-2

Belarus pulls away, 5-2

Slovenia loses "regulation-relegation game"

Published 14.05.2017 13:07 GMT+2 | Author Andrew Podnieks
Belarus pulls away, 5-2
PARIS, FRANCE - MAY 13: Belarus's Yevgeni Lisovets #14 celebrates after his teammate Yevgeni Kovyrshin #88 (not shown) scores on Slovenia's Gasper Kroselj #32 during preliminary round action at the 2017 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship. (Photo by Matt Zambonin/HHOF-IIHF Images)
Today's motivation was simple: win in regulation and likely avoid relegation. Lose in regulation and be relegated. Belarus won. Slovenia lost.

After trailing 2-1 after one period, Belarus scored four unanswered goals in the second to pull away from Slovenia and win, 5-2. 

The loss makes it impossible for Slovenia to escape last place in the Group B standings, meaning it will return to Division I-A for 2018.

Belarus will be at least seventh in the group and thus should normally stay in the top division. The only exception would be if Denmark as host of the 2018 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship would be last in the group in Cologne, then the seventh-ranked team with the worse record will be relegated beside Slovenia.

"Better late than never, right?" said Belarus goalie Kevin Lalande. "We knew it was going to be a tough game. That could have swung either way after the first period. I think the message was clear. Our effort that we put forth after 20 minutes wasn’t what we needed to win. We came out really good in the second. We did all the right things, and we shut the door in the third."

"We're definitely we are very disappointed with this loss," said Slovenian forward Jan Urbas. "I think we started well, but then in the second period, we had a couple of bad minutes. We had a couple of penalties and they took advantage of that. I think we lost that game in the second period."

Coming into this game Belarus had won all four meetings in World Championship play between the two young nations. Make that five in a row now.

As a result, it was no surprise to see Belarus open the scoring at 13:12. Alexander Pavlovich, who had a goal yesterday against France, drilled a hard shot over the glove of Gasper Kroselj.

But that was not a sign of things to come. Indeed, Slovenia was equal to Belarus for much of the period and managed to tie the game less than four minutes later.

Slovenia got the tying score at 16:52 on a power play when goalie Kevin Lalande failed to control a point shot. The puck landed beside him and Ziga Jeglic put it in before Lalande could react.

More surprisingly, Slovenia took the lead with 45.1 seconds left on the clock thanks to a smart play from David Rodman. Carrying the puck over the line, he waited until a group of players moved between him and Lalande. He then snapped a great shot over the goalie’s shoulder.

Unfortunately for Slovenia, that lead lasted just 29 seconds into the second period. Andrei Kostitsyn curled around the goal, and as he did so Yevgeni Kovyrshin eluded defenceman Sabahudin Kovacevic in front. Kostitsyn got Kovyrshin the puck and it was in before Kroselj could do anything.

Pavlovich got his second of the night on a play he started and finished. Coming in over the line, he fed Ilya Shinkevich with a pass off the rush. Shinkevich’s shot was blocked in front, but the puck came right to Pavlovich to the side of the empty goal. He didn’t miss, and Belarus was back in the lead, 3-2.

The Belorussians extended their lead to two at 18:05 off another Pavlovich-Shinkevich combination. This time Pavlovich fed a little pass to his teammate going to the net, and Shinkevich got the tip of his stick on it to change direction enough to fool Kroselj.

Belarus got an insurance goal with 17.3 seconds left in the period on a power play when Andrei Stas banged in a rebound on a loss puck in the crease.

Slovenia now has a day off and will play a meaningless game against France on Monday in another crucial game. Belarus now has a two-day layoff before facing Norway.


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