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Belarus nearly does it

Swedes avoid Spisska shocker in dying seconds

Published 16.04.2017 23:01 GMT+2 | Author Andrew Podnieks
Belarus nearly does it
SPISSKA NOVA VES, SLOVAKIA - APRIL 16: Belarus' Andrei Grishenko #1 makes the save against Sweden's Jacob Peterson #25 while Fabian Zetterland #26, Ilya Gurban #14, Artyom Baltrik #9, Dmitri Savritski #3 and Fabian Zetterland #26 look on during preliminary round action at the 2017 IIHF Ice Hockey U18 World Championship. (Photo by Steve Kingsman/HHOF-IIHF Images)
Emil Bemstrom scored a power-play goal with only 12 seconds left to give Sweden a 3-2 win over Belarus.

The Swedes outshot their opponents by a 52-14 margin, but it was only a late goal that was the difference. Belarus thought it had cleared the zone to force an overtime, but Rickard Hugg kept the puck in and found Bemstrom wide open in front of the goal.

Bemstrom's quick shot beat Andrei Grishenko, who was sensational in goal for the losers.

As a result, Sweden improves its record to 2-1 while Belarus is still looking for its first win after three games. 

Sweden has now beaten Belarus in all six U18 meetings, but none closer than tonight's nail-biter.

Belarus now has a do-or-die game with Russia tomorrow. If it wins in regulation, and Russia loses again on Tuesday to the Czechs, Belarus advances to the quarter-finals. Anything less and it will be Belarus going to the relegation round from Group B.

Sweden, last year's silver medallists, now has a day off before finishing its round robin on Tuesday against the United States, bronze-medal winners a year ago. 

The Swedes struck for two goals in the first four minutes of tonight's game, suggesting a whalloping was in the works. David Gustafsson scored just 1:12 into the game and Kalle Miketinac made it 2-0 at 4:09.

But there was to be no whalloping. Despite badly outshooting Belarus, it was the underdogs who managed to cut the lead in half at 12:38 when Vladislav Yeryomenko scored. Shots were 17-2 after 20 minutes. Goals were just 2-1.

Midway through the second, Artyom Baltruk managed to tie the game, and Belarus played a game of cat-and-mouse the rest of the night. The Swedes dominated, controlled play, and had most of the puck possession, but they couldn't beat Grishenko.

And then, with only 1:30 left in regulation, Baltruk took a tripping penalty. His teammates did a great job killing it off, but then the fatal final few seconds resulted in Bemstrom's goal, a Belarus loss, and no points in the standings.