I did not realize that the Group D Men’s Olympic Qualifiers had gotten underway already, but there are two Devils participating: Christian Jaros and Marian Studenic of Slovakia and Yegor Sharangovich, who is captaining Belarus.
Now, I do not believe that the NHL has made a formal announcement about it’s players participating in the 2022 Beijing games. I do not want to mention details and get them wrong, since I cannot find the source I read it from. When I have more information and can verify sources, I will certainly write up a post on it.
Belarus kicked off the tournament against Poland yesterday and was upset, 1-0. The lone goal came when Filip Komorski scored with about five minutes to go in regulation.
Goaltender Danny Taylor faced just 19 shots for Belarus while Poland’s John Murray turned aside all 46 shots he faced.
Sharangovich had nine shots on goal and two minutes in penalties (a tripping minor taken with a little less than four minutes to go in the second period).
Belarus would go on to face Austria today and win, 5-2. In today’s game, it seemed to be a repeat of yesterday when Austria’s Raphael Herburger scored 8:35 into the game on the power play. Before the end of the first period, Austria would double their lead when Brian Lebler scored with less than two minutes to go (18:40). That goal came just as the Austrians were back to even strength after killing a penalty.
In the second period, just 39 seconds in, Bernhard Starkbaum took a tripping call, putting Belarus on the power play. They converted just four seconds in when Andrei Stas scored from Nick Bailen. That made it 2-1 Austria.
Sharangovich would tie things at 5:55 when he scored from Stas and Nikita Komarov to tie the game at two.
He would strike again at 12:45, this time scoring from Alexei Protas and Komarov at even strength to give Belarus their first lead of the tournament at 3-2. And the Belarusians would not look back.
Shane Prince made it 4-2 when he scored from Artyom Demkov at 16:51. Belarus would get another from Geoff Platt with 22 seconds to go in the second when he scored from Prince and Francis Pare. That made it 5-2, our final.
Sharangovich would end the game with two goals for two points off of two shots. Goaltender David Kickert made 23 saves on 28 shots faced for Austria. For Belarus, Taylor made 16 saves off of 18 shots.
And now on to Slovakia, the hosts of the tournament, as it takes place in Bratislava at eth Ondrej Nepela Arena.
The Slovaks played yesterday against the Austrians winning 2-1.
Libor Hudacek kicked off the scoring, making it 1-0 just 1:46 into the game. He scored from Peter Ceresnak to make it 1-0 Slovakia.
Just after killing a hooking penalty against Hudacek, Slovakia made it 2-0 at 8:28 of the second. Martin Gernat scored from Studenic, who had his first point of the tournament. He would finish with that assist and a shot on goal.
Austria would get one back when Lebler scored at 12:45 of the third to make it 2-1. But, even after pulling goalie Kickert, the Belarusians held on to win the game by that very score.
Kickert stopped 30 of the 32 shots he saw while Slovakia’s Branislav Konrad was equal to 20 of the 21 shots fired at him.
Jaros registered a shot on goal on the night.
Slovakia played again today against Poland, winning 5-1.
The Slovaks took the early lead when Adam Ruzicka scored 8:06 into the game from Ceresnak and Gernat.
They doubled their lead 4:38 into the second when Hudacek scored from Ceresnak and Gernat. Less than two minutes later, at 6:11, Milos Roman scored to make it 3-0, off assists from Juraj Slafkovsky and Simon Nemec.
The Poles got on the board on the power play at 10:17 of the third. Slovakia’s Kristian Pospisil took a charging call at 8:20. With three seconds to go on the power play, at 10:17, Krystian Dziubinski made it 3-1 off assists from Alan Lyszczarczyk and Aron Chmielewski.
The Slovaks would get that back when Peter Cehlarik scored at 12:39 of the second period. He had helpers from Hudacek and Tomas Jurco to make it 4-1.
Slovakia rounded out the scoring when Ruzicka scored at 8:02 of the third period from Pospisil and Robert Lantosi.
Poland would end the game on the penalty kill while Dziubinski was in the box serving an interference penalty.
Slovakian goalie Konrad made 16 saves on just 17 shots against while Polish goalie Murray was very busy, stopping 43 of 48 shots against.
Jaros registered four shots on goal while Studenic was a plus-1.
Tomorrow, Poland will face Austria while, of interest to us, Slovakia takes on Belarus.
Currently, Slovakia stands in first place in the tournament with two wins and six points. Poland is in second with a win and three points while Belarus is tied with them, also with a win and three points. Austria is in last place with no wins or points in the round-robin tournament.