After picking up two wins and falling short in overtime to Slovakia, Belarus knew that the next few games were not only crucial but their hardest ones to come. The team was well aware that they could not take a single shift off and would have to bring their A-game if they wanted to come out with any points and push for a repeat playoff appearance.
The first period saw both teams exchange chances but the score remained scoreless heading into the second. Then without warning Belarus found themselves exploding for three goals while catching the USA sleeping. Despite the shock factor to USA being down by three, the team started to press but still found themselves trailing 3-1 after 40 minutes. However Belarus controlled the game to the end while notching two more and cursing through the third period to a 5-2 victory.
“It just worked out that we got a couple of counter attacks,” Sergei Kostitsyn said. “They made mistakes in defence and we were able to take our chances. It wasn’t that the USA was weak in defence, we were just stronger on offence.”
Belarus netminder Kevin Lalande made crucial stops throughout the game and finished the game with 28 saves on 30 shots.
“We had the momentum early one and they pushed back through work and discipline,” said USA head coach Todd Richards. “They turned tide and put us on our heels.”
It was the first time ever that Belarus defeated USA after losing the first five matches over the previous 15 years.
Factoring in goals for Belarus were Artur Gavrus, Artyom Volkov, Alexander Kitarov, and two finishing blows in the third period by Alexi Kalyuzhny. While Borck Nelson and Torey Krug factored in for the only two goals by USA.
With this victory, Belarus finds themselves atop of Group B with a day off tomorrow before they take on Russia on Saturday. USA was able to defeat Russia 4-2 in their previous match thus leaving the door wide open for Belarus being more than capable to pull out another win against a considerably tough opponent.
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