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Finland Shuts Out Belarus in Front of Home Crowd

Thursday, 15.05.2014 / 4:01 PM / News Articles
By John Sanful
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Finland Shuts Out Belarus in Front of Home Crowd
Pekka Rinne shuts out Belarus in front of home crowd as Finland now is back in playoff contention.

Pekka Rinne shuts out Belarus in front of home crowd as Finland now is back in playoff contention.

Strong defence and goaltending, along with an early goal by Petri Kontiola were the determining factors in their 2-0 win over Belarus at Minsk Arena.

Finland resumed its winning ways with a second straight win, this time over the host nation Belarus giving them six points in Group A. After a slow start to the tournament, Finland is back in playoff round contention in Group B.

Belarus was back on the ice after two days off. Their last game was Monday and a 4-3 win over Switzerland.

As he did in Finland’s last game, Kontiola opened scoring. Kontiola’s goal at 16:30 was scores as he rushed the puck through the neutral zone, through two skaters as he gained the zone and using the defenceman in front as a screen.

There was action to start the game and throughout the first period. Andrei Kostitsyn was strong for Belarus with three of the team’s eight shots in the period.

The goal would stand through the second period for the Finns.

Perhaps the best chance in the middle frame for Belarus was when Mikhail Grabovski sent a pass across to Sergei Kostitsyn who sent a shot that Pekka Rinne initially saved but the puck went through the pads and lay on the doorstep in the crease. Jyri Marttinen was able to swat the puck away before Andrei Stepanov could get there.

Finland largely clamped down on quality chances, keeping the Belarusian attack to the outside. The same could be said about Belarus and their commitment to keeping the Finns honest. While Belarus was limited to three shots in the second period, Finland was only able to manage four.

Belarus was given a man advantage at 10:06 of the third when Leo Komarov was called off for interference after barreling into netminder Kevin Lalande. Grabovski managed to get off a shot, but otherwise not much power play offense was generated. Given how important special teams are in such close games, Belarus missed an opportunity to try and level the game.

Despite this, Belarus continued to press several flurries on offense yielded a few shots and anxious moments for Finland but nothing got past Rinne.

Then with 4:14 remaining, Alexander Kitarov sent a backpass to Andrei Kostitsyn for a shot that Rinne used his blocker to stop.

A penalty at 17:54 of the third on Dmitri Korobov meant that Belarus would spend the rest of the game shorthanded. Belarus pulled Lalande and worked the puck deep but Jori Lehtera took the puck the other way into the offensive zone and found Kontiola for an empty netter, his second of the contest.

The game ended 2-0 as Finland and Belarus are now both two wins and two losses in Group B of this tournament.

SCHEDULE

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AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

WESTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 ANA 48 32 10 6 143 124 70
2 NSH 46 31 10 5 141 107 67
3 STL 46 29 13 4 148 111 62
4 CHI 48 30 16 2 151 112 62
5 WPG 49 26 15 8 138 122 60
6 SJS 48 25 17 6 131 132 56
7 VAN 46 26 17 3 124 118 55
8 CGY 48 26 19 3 140 126 55
9 LAK 48 21 15 12 133 129 54
10 COL 49 20 18 11 128 141 51
11 DAL 47 21 19 7 146 154 49
12 MIN 47 21 20 6 130 138 48
13 ARI 47 16 25 6 108 160 38
14 EDM 48 12 27 9 110 160 33

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
A. Ladd 49 17 23 10 40
B. Little 49 18 20 10 38
B. Wheeler 49 13 23 11 36
D. Byfuglien 49 12 20 9 32
M. Perreault 46 15 14 2 29
M. Frolik 49 10 16 6 26
M. Scheifele 49 7 19 4 26
E. Kane 34 10 12 6 22
A. Lowry 48 6 9 3 15
J. Trouba 33 5 9 5 14
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
M. Hutchinson 14 4 2 .935 1.90
O. Pavelec 12 11 6 .911 2.52
 
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