STOCKHOLM – Belarus held on to defeat Slovenia 4-3 to win its first game in two tries at the 2013 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championships. Alexei Ugarov’s late third period goal did the trick for Belarus who even out their tournament record to 1-1.
These teams traded chances throughout the game but worked to keep their opponents chances limited.
“It was a different game than playing Czech Republic,” said captain Konstantin Koltsov. “We wanted to win this game but it was a tough game and they have skilled players.”
With 6:32 remaining in the first period, Tomaz Razingar scored to give Slovenia their first lead of the game. Rok Pajic skated around the goaltender Vitali Belinski, who went down, and slid the puck across the crease where an unattended Razingar scored. Gasper Kopitar also earned an assist.
Kopitar, the younger brother of Los Angeles Kings forward Anze Kopitar, is experiencing his first World Championship tournament.
With 2:41 left in the period, Ilya Kaznadei scored on a wrist shot that hit Robert Kristan’s pads and trickled lazily through five hole into the net. The game was levelled at one. Kaznadei’s goal was the first goal of tournament scored by Belarus.
The game was contested in close quarters, featured big hits along the wall by both teams and a few scrums for good measure.
Alexander Kitaorov’s high, hard wrist shot broke the tie in the second period. A battle behind the net resulted in Dmitri Meleshko winning the puck and sending a pass through the slot to a free Kitarov who wasted little time in getting his shot off.
Both teams responded goal for goal in the third.
Slovenia battled hard at the start the third period and was rewarded when Marcel Rodman scored a game-tying goal at 1:06.
David Rodman threw a pass into traffic in the crease where Marcel Rodman found the puck amid the pile up and tapped it in.
Rodman’s goal gave the game new life but it would not last long as Belarus took back the lead with Flilichkin’s goal at 4:57 of the final frame. A big rebound off a shot by Andrei Stas was grabbed by Filichkin who rifled the puck past Kristan.
Slovenia once again tied the game when Robert Sabolic scored with 5:08 remaining with Ziga Jeglic and Rok Ticar getting assists.
Ugarov answered quickly after that, scoring some 27 seconds later to put Belarus up for good.
"That was a huge goal for us especially since they scored to tie the game in with around five minutes left," said Koltsov.
Gaspar Kopitar was philosophical about the loss.
"The game was better than yesterday but still not good enough. We had a lot of chances in the third but if you can’t score you can’t win. That winning goal was a heartbreaker."
The win for Belarus was their third in three head to head game in World Championship competition against Slovenia and a revenge after losing to Slovenia in the Olympic Qualification two-and-a-half months ago.