International Ice Hockey Federation

Minsk magic on display

Minsk magic on display

Belarus entertains with 4-1 win

Published 12.05.2014 21:15 GMT+3 | Author John Sanful
Minsk magic on display
MINSK, BELARUS - MAY 11: Kazakhstan's Kevin Dallman #38 and Belarus' Alexander Kitarov #77 battle for the puck along the boards during preliminary round action at the 2014 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship. (Photo by Andre Ringuette/HHOF-IIHF Images)
If they could give a star of the game for fan support, Belarusian fans would get one. Their unrelenting support throughout the contest provided a big boost.

Fueled by incredible fan support and emotion, Belarus defeated Kazakhstan 4-1 on the strength of second period goals from Andrei Stepanov and Nikolai Stasenko. For Belarus it was their first win of the tournament in front of a crowd of 13,734 at Minsk Arena.

From the beginning of the game the capacity audience in attendance played a factor in the game. They were loud, raucous and, without question, the motivation for the spirited effort put forth by Belarus.

Belarus came out determined to take the game to Kazakhstan. They had a variety of changes, down low, on the perimeter that accounted for their thirteen shots on goal. The showed good early pressure in the Kazakh zone, keeping their opponents pinned in.

Forward Geoff Platt had two good chances, including one early on off a pass from Vladimir Denisov.

While it was Belarus that sustained the attack, Kazakhstan would score first. Andrei Gavrilin scored in as many games when he cut between two defenders to the net to score. Gavrilin sent a hard shot top shelf high to Vitali Koval’s glove side. The goal came at 4:12 and Alexei Vasilchenko picked up the assist.

Koval was making his first start for Belarus.

For all their effort, Belarus was down 1-0 after twenty minutes of play.

In the second they rebounded nicely to score two goals.

Yevgeni Blokhin was called off for hooking two minutes into the period. Unlike the two previous power play opportunities they were given, Belarus hit paydirt on this one. Stepanov scored at 2:46 after taking a pass from Mikhail Grabovski. That goal electrified the crowd.

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For their part, Kazakhstan could not generate much nor were they able to take advantage on Belarus mistakes. A breakdown in discipline saw Belarus called for four minors in the period but Kazakhstan were simply unable to capitalize.

Stasenko gave Belarus the lead when he scored off a pass from Stepanov as Maxim Semyonov tried to defend him. The play all started with a great long outlet pass from Roman Graborenko, who received the secondary assist.

Sergei Kostitsyn added an insurance goal in the third. Good effort by Alexei Yefimenko to race to the puck and get control led a pass to Kostitsyn who potted the goal.

Belarus had so many chances in the third as the Kazakh team was worn out at that point. But the fans were still going strong.

With 4.5 remaining Alexei Kaluzhny added an empty netter.


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