ZURICH-KLOTEN – In a game that had ramifications for both sides, Belarus defeated a much-improved Hungary team 3-1. Alexei Ugarov’s goal with 5:35 left in the third salvaged the win for Belarus.
For fifty-five minutes, the game could have gone either way. Hungary showed its ability to generate scoring chances and move quickly to the puck. As well, Levente Szuper rebounded from a difficult game against Canada to a solid performance.
Once again, Hungarian spectators were out in full force with drums, chants, and the usual enthusiasm that has been emblematic of Team Hungary’s experience here in Kloten.
Teams traded chances throughout the first period. Hungary had several close quarter chances on Andre Mezin, who was making his second straight start.
Tic-tac-toe passing led to Belarus’ first goal. With Viktor Szelig in the penalty box for tripping, Belarus was able to work the puck down around the net where Alexei Kaliuzhny scored off a pass from Sunday’s hero, Oleg Antonenko.
"We had a little problem with our start again," said Szuper. "I don't know whether we get nervous or what but that is the third game in a row. We have to learn to calm down."
Towards the end of the first and for the rest of the game, Hungary took the action to Belarus. Imre Peterdi tied the score scored off a no look pass from Balazs Ladanyi at 5:14 into the second period. The goal was Peterdi’s second of the tournament. Marton Vas picked up the secondary assist.
Hungary came out in the third and dominated the first ten minutes of the period. They peppered Mezin with shots from close range. Ladanyi had a dead on scoring opportunity that Mezin saved and two minutes later Janos Vas fired a snapshot that Mezin knocked away.
"This was a hard game, a tough game," said Mikhail Grabovski. "They played smart in the defensive zone. They always had five men back."
Late in the period, Belarus got the break they were looking for.
Off a faceoff deep in the Belarus zone, Kaliuzhny got control of the puck and saucered a cross ice pass to Ugarov who was breaking through the neutral zone. Once he got control of the puck, Ugarov was in on a break and sent a backhand past Szuper into the net.
Grabovski added an empty netter for good measure when Hungary pulled Szuper with a minute remaining in the game.
"We've made it to the Qualification Round, which is what we wanted to do but we will have to improve our play," said Grabovski.
Belarus can finish second in Group A with a Canada win this evening. Hungary now moves to the Relegation Round.
Our main goal is to stay up and keep dreaming the dream," said Szuper. "We want to show our fans and the world we want to be here."