As was the trend for every morning game on Saturday, Slovenia and Belarus battled in a tough, competitive contest, with Belarus eventually taking the 4-2 victory.
Just seconds past the halfway point of the first, Belarus already found themselves in the 1-0 lead. After Belarus defenseman Dmitri Korobov fanned on a scoring chance, Andrei Stas picked up the puck, waited, and eventually fired it over a screened Robert Kristian for the 1-0 lead. It was short-lived, however, as Rok Ticar got the puck 34 seconds later and blew past Korobov, with Ziga Jeglic eventually picking up the rebound to tie the game up at two.
The players had no time to breathe before Belarus took the 2-1 lead. 13 minutes in, Kristan made a pad save on an original shot from Stas, only to see former Montreal Canadiens forward pick up his first World Championship goal in two years after picking up the puck in his feet and jamming it past Kevin Lelande.
Kostitsyn would be instrumental in the third goal for Belarus as well. After missing a pass from his brother, Sergei, Andrei rushed into the Slovenian zone, forcing Kristian to leave his crease and come out to play the puck. That experience appeared to be flawed, as Alexei Kalyuzhny would receive the pass from Kristian, scoring easily on the empty net to make it 3-1 Slovenia.
The Slovenians weren’t ready to fall so easily in the third. LA Kings star Anze Kopitar, considered to be the best player to ever come out of the country, had a great chance with 11 minutes to go to help cut the lead to one. Lelande, originally born in Canada, didn’t like that plan, making a huge sprawling save to deny him of the goal. The Slovenians would eventually get a late goal from Ziga Pance, but a Belorussian empty netter voided any chance of a comeback, giving Belarus the biggest victory of the day thanks to the 4-2 decision.
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