In a lighter day of only four games at the World Hockey Championships, Russia blanked Denmark 3-0, Kazakhstan edged Germany, 3-2 and Canada doubled up Norway, 4-2.
The game of importance to us is Belarus against Great Britain in Group A action at the Olympic Sports Centre in Riga. This was another close one as the Brits narrowly got by, 4-3, to notch their first win of the tournament.
Belarus took an early tripping call to Ilya Solovyov just 11:12 into the game. The Belarusians killed that off, but at 13:38, Britain struck. Just seconds after the power play expired, Liam Kirk scored unassisted to make it 1-0. That score took us into the second period.
In the second, a similar situation. Britain’s Matthew Myers took a holding penalty 7:10 into the period. The Brits killed that off and, five seconds after the power play was over, Vladislav Kodola scored to tie it. Nick Bailen and Shane Prince had the assists for the game-tier.
From there, Great Britain would go on a run.
At 17:06, Ben Davies scored from Myers to make it 2-1. One minute and thirty seconds later, at 18:35, Kirk scored his second of the game to make it 3-1. Ben O’Connor and Robert Dowd had the assists.
In the third, Britain’s David Phillips took a charging penalty 6:58 into the new frame. Belarus had about 1:30 of power play time until Bailen evened things up with a tripping minor for the Belarusians at 4:28.
With things at 4-on-4, the Brits would triple their lead when Mike Hammond scored from Mark Richardson at 8:31. That made it 4-1 Great Britain.
Belarus would then nearly tie things when Geoff Platt scored at 11:19 (from Francis Pare and Kodola). That cut the lead in half at 4-2.
Belarus would then go on the penalty kill at 15:05 when Andrei Antonov got two minutes for interference.
They would kill that off and, about 40 seconds after killing the penalty, at 17:43, Prince would score from Yegor Sharangovich and Alexei Protas to cut the lead to one.
With the score 4-3, the Belarusians pulled goaltender Danny Taylor with just about one minute to go in regulation but could not get the equalizer. Great Britain got the win, 4-3.
Sharangovich finished the game with an assist for a point and two shots on goal in 20:08 of ice time.
With that win, both teams are essentially tied in Group A standings with one win in four games and four points. Belarus has a slightly better goal differential at minus-four to Britain’s minus-seven.
Next up, tomorrow, the Swiss take on Slovakia, the United States takes on Latvia, Sweden takes on the Czech Republic and Finland faces Italy.