Norway tried to get a few goals late in the game to force overtime, but Belarus held on long enough to take the 3-2 victory and earn a berth in the next round.
While Canada was putting on a clinic against Austria in Prague, the Ostrava match-up between Belarus and Norway was less than stellar. There was some important implications for Belarus, though, as a win would help secure the final spot in the quarter-finals and take on Canada on Thursday.
The first period saw Norway take the 5-3 shot count lead after a rather tame first period. Belarus would grab the lead early in the game, however, as captain Alexei Kalyuzhny took a nice wrist shot on the power-play with seven minutes off the clock to take the 1-0 lead
The second period didn’t see a lot of urgency by Belarus right off the bat, but they would be the next to score. With Norway down a man, Belarus would score their second power-play goal of the game after Sergei Kostitsyn fed Dimitri Korobev, who took a shot that caused Haugen some problems to make it 2-0.
With less than ten minutes left both teams would score a goal each. First, Andrei Kostitsyn showed some great hands by spinning around in front and lifting the puck over Haugen for the 3-0 lead 12:03 into the second. 17 seconds later, Norway got one of their own after Mathis Olimb tricked Kevin LaLande to commit to the right side of the net, before making a pass from behind the goal line to Patrick Thoresen to cut the lead to 3-1.
After 46 minutes of action, Norway found themselves back on the scoreboard. On just their 11th shot of the contest, defenseman Mattias Norstebo took a nice wrist shot from the blue line that soared past everybody in front and over LaLande, putting his team behind by just one. Norstebo has had a solid tournament, scoring three goals as 19-year-old defenseman playing in his first major event internationally.
The pace started to pick up late in the period. For Norway, their chance at finishing the game with bragging rights was slowly slipping away, so they began to really turn on the pressure in hopes of tying it up. At one point, they actually took seven straight shots to really pressure their opponents. Belarus, on the other hand, started to realize that if Norway could get back in the game, they’d see their chances at an automatic berth into the quarter-finals slip away. Fortunately for the hosts of the 2014 World Championships, Belarus would on for the 3-2 victory to earn a spot in the quarter-finals against Canada on Thursday.
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