Slovakia 4, Belarus 2
New York (The Draft Analyst) — Lukas Hrusik scored the go-ahead goal 19 seconds into the third period, and Adam Huska stopped 24 shots to lead Slovakia to a 4-2 win over Belarus on Sunday in the opening round of the 2016 World Junior Championships from Helsinki, Finland.
Slovakia, last year’s bronze medal winners, had a 39-26 shot advantage over the Belorussians, who fell to 0-2 following Saturday’s 6-0 loss to host Finland.
Hrusik broke a deadlock when he hammered a loose puck over the glove hand of goalie Ivan Kulbakov immediately off a faceoff win deep in the Belarus zone.
Defenseman Patrick Koch opened the scoring for Slovakia with a slap shot through a screen during a delayed penalty at 6:56 of the first period. Belarus responded at 11:33 when left wing Vadim Malinovsky collected a loose puck in front of Huska and fired a shot to ties the score 1-1. Ruslan Vasilchuk, an 18-year-old prospect for the 2016 NHL draft, gave Belarus a 2-1 lead during a power play at 2:21 of the second. He gathered a rebound in the slot and whipped a turnaround shot past Huska, who is a New York Rangers draft pick.
Slovakia began its comeback later in the second when power forward Filip Lestan took a pass from Maros Surovy and one-timed a shot past Kulbakov. Surovy intercepted a clearing attempt deep in the Belorussian zone and backhanded a pass to the front of the net, where a wide open Lestan tied the score 2-2.
Juraj Siska was credited with an empty-net goal when Kulbakov illegally left the Belorussian bench in an attempt to interdict Siska’s path to an open goal. Kulbakov, was was named Player of the Game, injured his leg on the play and did not return.