COLOGNE – Alexei Kalyuzhny scored on a three-man breakaway with 14.4 seconds left in overtime to lift Belarus to a 2-1 win over Germany at the IIHF World Championship on Sunday.
Marcel Müller tied the game for the Germans with 53.9 seconds left in the third period and the Germans were pressing for the winning goal late in overtime when they coughed up the puck at the Belarus blueline.
Michael Grabovski sped down the ice and waited for goaltender Dennis Endras to make his move and when he did, Grabovski sent a pass to his teammate and the game was over a couple of heartbeats later.
Goaltender Andrei Mezin had frustrated the Germans for almost the entire game but Müller snapped a wrist shot high to the glove hand from the top of the left faceoff circle to force overtime.
That goal came seconds after Endras had robbed Grabovski of a goal on a breakaway.
Germany now has four points for fourth place in Group E and have a one-point lead on Slovakia. Belarus has two points.
"We needed to win in regulation time (to have a chance to advance to the playoff round) and the point really doesn't mean much," said Belarus defenceman Ruslan Salei.
"This is the worst moment of my career," said a dejected Grabovski. "We needed to win and I have no comments right now because I did not score on my breakaway."
Mezin wasn’t peppered with a lot of quality shots and he had plenty of help from his teammates.
Any time the Germans managed to put any pressure on their opponents, they’d have four Belarus players protecting Mezin. It seemed a big part of the Belarus game plan was to defend their net at all costs.
The Germans were playing their second game in 24 hours – they lost 3-2 to Russia on Saturday – and looked tired and weren’t sharp on offence.
"We were a little hungover from yesterday;s emotional game against Russia and we weren't as sharp as we have been in the tournament," said Sven Butenschön. "But we got a point and you never know it could be a huge point."
The Germans also let their frustrations get to them in the chippy game and it is hard to build momentum, let alone apply any pressure when you do have it, when you have to kill penalties. Coach Uwe Krupp was unable to implement his game plan in the first period because his players took three minor penalties.
Belarus scored the game’s first goal in the first period.
The play started with a drop pass to Yaroslav Chupris, who was at the top of the faceoff circle to the left of the German net. His wrist shot was stopped by goaltender Dennis Endras but Andrei Mikhalev, who was driving to the net, fought off a defender and tapped a rebound past Endras at 6:43.
Mezin, meanwhile, only had to a couple of difficult saves before Müller ripped a shot past him.
Christian Ehrhoff took a hard point shot that got through traffic in front of Mezin midway through the second period but the veteran goaltender dropped to his knees in the crease, took the shot to the chest, and smothered the rebound for perhaps his best save of the game.
Germany tried to jam the puck past Mezin on a couple of scrums midway through the third period but the goalie wanted no part of it.
The German fans did their best to provide some spark to their hockey heroes with their constant singing, clapping and flag-waving.