After a disappointing opener to USA, host nation Belarus looked to pick up their first win of the 2014 World Championship in front of a roaring crowd of 13,734. Belarus found themselves once again just like in their game against USA, go down by a goal in the first period when Andrei Gavrilin sent a shot top shelf over Vitali Koval’s glove side.
Then only 2:46 into the second period, Belarus’ Andrei Stepanov tallied a power-play goal to knot the game up at one. Kazakhstan had their own chances on the man-advantages, four in total through the second period. But even with such chances, Belarus easily killed off the penalties and would then go on to take the lead on Nikolai Stasenko’s goal to finish off the first forty minutes of play.
Sergei Kostitsyn added an insurance goal for Belarus in the third and with just 4.5 seconds remaining Alexei Kalzuhny upped the score to 4-1 with an empty net tally. Belarus had many opportunities in the third to up the score higher which may come back to bite them due to the importance of needing a good goal differential for possible tiebreakers in group playoff standings. However the host nation will gladly take their first win and can spark motivation by currently seeing itself being seeded higher than winless team Finland.
Belarus’ next game is Monday against winless Switzerland, last year’s silver medalist. It’s not going to be an easy matchup as Switzerland nearly came out with a win in their last game against team USA. If Belarus can come out of the game with any points, regardless of an actual win, then it should be considered a step forward in their quest to make a playoff spot in the tournament.