International Ice Hockey Federation

OT is OK with Mezzos

OT is OK with Mezzos

Slovakia earns another tight win vs. Belarus

Published 03.05.2015 20:31 GMT+2 | Author John Sanful
OT is OK with Mezzos
OSTRAVA, CZECH REPUBLIC - MAY 3: Belarus' Kevin Lalande #35 makes a save off a shot from Slovakia's Mario Bliznak #55 during preliminary round action at the 2015 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship. (Photo by Richard Wolowicz/HHOF-IIHF Images)
It needed overtime again but Slovakia earned its second win of the IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship beating Belarus 2-1.

Andrej Meszaros’s second goal of the game decided the contest and earned him player of the game honours.

Both teams traded goals in the third period before taking the game into an extra session.

"We had a pretty rough game today." Marek Viedensky said. "We didn't have many shots or that many good chances. It was a tough game for us. They scored late in the game but we showed we can come back as a team and win the game in OT. We'd be happier with six points from two games but we have to look at what happened and 4 pts from 2 OT games is pretty good."

The middle game of three played today at CEZ Arena featured two teams coming off opening game wins. It was also highlighted by a goaltender’s battle between Kevin Lalande and Jan Laco.

Much like their game against Denmark, it would take Slovakia two periods to get on track and on the scoreboard.

The best chance for the Slovaks would come in the first period when Alexander Kitarov was called for throwing the stick at 4:30, leading to a penalty shot for Marian Gaborik. Gaborik went with a wrist shot that was stopped by Lalande who held his ground.

Shots in the first period favoured Slovakia 10-7 with Milan Bartovic leading the way with three. In the period and throughout the game, Bartovic was very involved whether generating scoring opportunities or setting them up. He finished with eight shots in the game.

In the second period Belarus drew some extended time in the offensive end when Mario Bliznak was called for roughing, much to the disdain of the boisterous Slovak fans in attendance. Belarus moved the puck well and Alexander Kulakov rifled a shot off a nifty pass from Andrei Stepanov. However, Laco was there to make the save.

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Belarus would finally strike at 11:27 of the third period when they gained the offensive zone and Alexei Kalyuzhny sent a pass over to Sergei Kostitsyn, who had the open side of the net waiting for him to bury the puck. The shot hit the base of the post and went in.

Just over one minute later, defenceman Meszaros tied it up quickly with a wrister that beat Lalande and just as Ilya Shinkevich was dropping to the ice to block the shot. As with last night, the goal woke the pro-Slovak crowd and got them into the game again.

Richard Panik nearly scored to put Slovakia ahead after taking a pass from Bartovic and zipping to the net. With time running out it was clear that for the second consecutive game, Slovakia would go to overtime where the game would ultimately be decided.

Slovakia started the overtime quickly, transitioning out of their zone and to offence. They would keep some pressure on the Belarus defence but a second goal proved elusive until 1:55 of OT when Meszaros scored his second of the game with a whistler past Lalande that set the crowd off once again.

"The first goal was a good play by our guys and I just saw a small spot and shot for that." Mezaros said of his opening tally. "The second criss-crossed a few times and Tomas Tatar dropped the puck off for me. I went to the middle and shot, saw the keeper was down and went high."

Belarus played well and came close to winning. They limited Slovak chances and their goaltender kept them in the game.

"In OT we played to win, we didn't want to go to a shoot-out." Belarus forward Artyom Demov said. "We gave 100% to win it." 


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