International Ice Hockey Federation

Kovyrshin pair leads Belarus

Kovyrshin pair leads Belarus

Strong second clinches it

Published 05.05.2015 19:14 GMT+2 | Author John Sanful
Kovyrshin pair leads Belarus
OSTRAVA, CZECH REPUBLIC - MAY 5: Belarus' Yevgeni Kovyrshin #88 celebrates with Andrei Stepanov #61 after scoring Team Belarus' second goal of the game during preliminary round action at the 2015 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship. (Photo by Richard Wolowicz/HHOF-IIHF Images)
Belarus shook off their first period malaise to come back and defeat Denmark.

Led by three second period goals, Belarus won 5-1 and earned three points that keep them in the playoff hunt in Group B in Ostrava.

Yevgeni Kovyrshin scored twice, including the game winner. Kevin Lalande backstopped Belarus to its second win in three tries here at the 2015 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship.

"Of course we're feeling happier than after the last game," said Kovyrshin. "When you win it always puts you in a good mood."

Denmark scored for the first time since its opening game against Slovakia. Julian Jakobsen took a three the needle pass from Morten Madsen in stride to the net and converted. The goal came at 13:38 of the first period with Nichlas Hardt getting the other assist on the play.

We were on our heels the whole period," said Dave Lewis. "Our goaltending kept us in the game. It could have been 3-0."

After a strong first period, Denmark would succumb to the best offensive effort that Belarus would put together so far in this tournament.

Sensing they needed to come out with something more in the second, Belarus poured on the pressure and enjoyed their best and most decisive period of hockey. It was likely the unhappiness of the coach that woke the team up.

"The first period didn't really work out for us," said Kovyrshin. "(Head coach) Dave (Lewis) was swearing at us in the locker room, he had a go at us."

This was seconded by Lalande:

"I don't think coach was very happy," he said. "There was nothing to be happy about, we weren't playing our game and the effort wasn't there. I don't know what it was, but it was good for Dave to come and wake up the guys a little bit and remind everyone that it was an important game."

The talk must have worked. Belarus would go on to score on 17 shots over the next twenty minutes. All of their goals would come in the first ten minutes of the middle frrame.

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Belarus bounced back when Artur Gavrus fought off a defenceman in front to tie the score some forty four seconds into the second. Captain Alexei Kalyuzhny and Andrei Kostitsyn picked up the assists.

Kovyrshin scored his first of the game to give Belarus a 2-1 lead at 7:27. It began when Andrei Stepanov tried shaking off defender Mads Bodker near the far boards. Stepanov sent a pass to Alexander Kulakov whose backhand shot was saved by Patrick Galbraith. Kovyrshin got his stick loose and took the puck and scored in front of the Danish net.

Finally, Igor Shinkevich took a perfect little pass from Kalyuzhny and put it past Galbraith. In the period Kalyuzhny and Andrei Kostitsyn had two assists each.

Belarus maintained its dominance in the game, controlling the puck and allowing little in the way of a Danish counterattack.

Kovyrshin scored his second of the game in the third to put the game even more out of reach. Belarus would score one more before the final horn sounded. Ivan Usenko got involved for goal number five.

Belarus next encounters the high-flying Americans on Thursday in what will be another crucial battle for group standing.

"We came out a little flat in the first period," said Lalande. "We didn't play our system and we were lucky that they didn't take advantage of it. I thought the last two periods we played really strong. We have to play 60 minutes against teams like Finland, USA and Russia. If we take one minute off it's gonna hurt us."


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