Coming into the game Belarus lost the last two of its only three encounters with France at the World Championship. France was Hungary’s only hope to avoid being sent back to Division I.
A pair of goals by Andrei Stas carried Belarus to a 3-0 win, helping them to avoid relegation and finish with its second win of the tournament. Geoff Platt added a goal and assist and Charles Linglet three assists.
“We responded very well.” Platt said. “This last game meant everything, just to stay in the A group.”
France had more than its share of challenges coming into the game, including stamina and injuries. Also, they were again unable to stay out of the penalty box. While they did not give up a power play goal, France was affected by having to kill off penalties. By the midpoint of the game they looked tired and had a hard time keeping Belarus off the board.
After France’s loss to Canada, both head coach Dave Henderson and Pierre-Edouard Bellemare were clear to how much playing shorthanded hurt their team’s ability to maintain the pace and energy they need to get through the second half of a game. Yet, they found themselves in the same predicament today.
Cristobal Huet was a huge factor in the first period when Belarus launched 15 shots on goal. Despite the barrage, the game remained scoreless.
Belarus enjoyed a two-man advantage early in the second period and continued getting shots on net. They would get four in that sequence but none were able to find their way through.
Charles Linglet was in fine form in this game. Making his debut with the Belarus, Linglet finished with a goal and five assists and admirably represented the national team.
Linglet was responsible for setting up the first goal. He carried the puck end to end before sending a shot on goal after gaining the offensive zone. A loose puck lay in the crease for Stas to tap it in.
In the period, Yorick Treille was on the doorstep to send a backhand shot that Vitali Koval was able to get to. Julien Desrosiers sent a pass to Damien Fleury who whistled a shot over the net.
Linglet once again made things happen when he chipped a pass to Platt who connected, despite shooting a bouncing puck, for this third goal of the tournament at 8:23.
“I could see the play developing as I went up the ice with Charlie.” Platto said. “I didn’t expect it to be rolling quite that much, but I knew where I was shooting even before it landed, so I was prepared for that.”
Immediately after that goal, France attempted to kick up its sense of urgency but their quality chances in the game were kept to a minimum. They did get 12 shots on goal in the second period and 21 in the game.
By the third period, Belarus got another goal from Stas, his fifth ofthe World Championship, at 4:59. Any chance France had of coming back would require an offensive revitalization. That would not happen. France managed only two shots in the period.
Overall, France finished seventh in their group behind Belarus and just ahead of Hungary.
“We have a team where, even if we were missing a lot of pieces, we still finished seventh.” Pierre Edouard Bellemare said. “And quite frankly, if you look at the teams that are ahead of us, it’s not so abnormal. France in the ranking, we should be there. We’ve been making so many miracles in the last few World Championships that people are expecting it from us now. It’s way tougher to go beat the big nations because now they take us seriously. It’s going to be fun to see how we grow up.”
Now France turns its attention to 2017 when they will co-host the World Championship with Germany.