The Olympic selection started with a sensation! Belarus lost in hockey to Poland!
While the KHL clubs are preparing for the start of the 14th season, the final rounds are being held as part of the Olympic qualification. The national teams of Belarus and Latvia also take part in it. This tournament is of great importance for both teams. The national team of Belarus went to Bratislava, where its rivals were the host country, Austria and Poland. It was with the latter that our neighbors started at this tournament. The Olympic selection started with a sensation!
After the disastrous world championship, the coach of the Belarusian national team changed – the place of the head was taken by the coach of Minsk “Dynamo” Craig Woodcroft , who twice in three seasons led the “bison” to the playoffs. Also, the national team managed to assemble a strong line-up: on the spot the forward of “New Jersey” Sharangovich, newcomer “Avtomobilist” Prince and others. Yes, there were a couple of “sores” in the roster of Belarusians, for example, in the goalkeeper’s line. There are two unemployed goalkeepers there: 35-year-old Taylor and 24-year-old Kulbakov, both far from the KHL level. However, on paper, this should not have prevented them from beating the Poles. As it turned out, in reality the situation is completely different.
If the Poles purposefully played rollback from the very beginning, the Belarusians looked very sleepy for some unknown reason. The zeros on the scoreboard were in the first break, in the second. For two periods, Woodcroft’s wards have not created a single bright moment at the gates of Murray, the Canadian hero of the Polish national team. At the beginning of the year, not without his help, the Poles knocked out the national team of Kazakhstan from the Olympic race. Then the Polish “Hasek” made 51 saves in the decisive match! Today he saved 46 shots.
It would seem that after the break, the national team of Belarus came to life, began to throw more, moments immediately appeared. But they did not take advantage of these opportunities. What can not be said about the Poles, who realized almost the only moment in the period, and even in the very ending. This is a strong psychological blow to an opponent who has just begun to grope his hockey. As a result, the Poles fought off the last attacks of the Belarusians and were able to win the first official victory in history over their eastern neighbors.
“We were expecting such a game from the Poles”
Here is what the defender of the Belarusian national team Kirill Gotovets said after the match : “There are no comments here, the score is on the scoreboard. We must pay tribute to the opponent’s goalkeeper, he played great. We expected the Polish national team to play more defensively, wait for their chances, which is what happened in the end, ”said the defender.
“The opponent’s goalkeeper had a wonderful match”
After the match Craig Woodcroft said the following words: “Congratulations to the Polish national team on the victory. Our team today created enough danger on the ice, first of all, to throw. But, as you can see, in the end the game turned out quite differently.
Why didn’t you manage to abandon it today? First of all, the opponent’s goalkeeper had a brilliant match. At times we were too much carried away by pressing, which seemed logical according to the scenario of today’s match. We had so many opportunities to show ourselves, but madness was happening. As a result, it turned out what happened. The opponents played in a very disciplined defense, and we could not find ways to upset the guard of the opponent’s goal, ”said the coach of the Belarusian national team.
One got the impression that Woodcroft wanted to get away with a little blood. The players were too relaxed. Leaders were not leaders at the right time. The same Sharangovich was cleverly blocked by the Polish defenders, and in fact he is a player of the NHL club. Lost Kodola, one of the best field “Severstal”, were invisible legionnaires in the person of Platt, Paré, Bailen and Prince.
There are many questions about the game of the Belarusians. Where is the chemistry in attack? In the third period, Woodcroft made a real carousel, having tried almost every possible and impossible combination. The coach did not manage to play iron ties during the preparation. The Belarus national team has not yet lost the chances of a ticket to the Olympic Games, but now everything depends not only on themselves, but also on the rival teams.