Perhaps there was no other outcome for Team Belarus at the 2016 IIHF World Junior Championship, that outcome being a date with Switzerland in the relegation round of this tournament. The Belarusians haven’t played badly at this WJC, but nevertheless find themselves fighting to avoid a return to Division 1A at the U20 level.
Belarus needed a regulation win over the Czech Republic in their final game of the preliminary round to potentially avoid the relegation round (Slovakia has a game in hand), and were giving the impression that they just might pull off the upset.
The Czech Republic opened the scoring in the first period, but Belarus scored three of the four goals netted in the second period to head into the final frame with a 3-2 lead. Finding the net for Belarus in the second were defenseman Stepan Falkovski, forward Yegor Sharangovich, and defenseman Vladislav Goncharov.
But the Czechs proved to be too strong for Belarus in the third period as they outshot the Belarusians 20-6 while netting three goals to take the final, 5-3 score. The loss sets up a best-of-three between Belarus and Switzerland, with the first game taking place on Saturday.
Belarus forward Vadim Malinovski, who plays for the Okanagan European Eagles of the USPHL, spoke with the media after the loss, with his comments being captured in this Hockey’s Future video.
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