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Team Belarus
Rick Charlton
February 13th, 2002

There wasn't any whimpering from Belarus when their best players were unable to suit up in the preliminary round of the Men's Olympic hockey tourney.

While the Slovaks were jumping up and down trying to get their best players rescued from NHL rosters, the Belarusans quietly made due with what they had, stunning the Ukraine 1-0 in their opener then edging France 3-1 to qualify for the final eight.

NO.   PLAYER   Pos.   Ht.   Wt.   Birth Date   Team 
2 Sergei Shabanov GK 179 76 24/02/74 Metallurg
3 Oleg Khmyl D 182 90 30/01/70 Lada Togliatti
4 Alexander Makritski D - - - Oberhausen
5 Oleg Romanov D 182 85 31/03/70 Karpat Oulu
6 Igor Matushkin D 187 93 27/01/65 Revier Lowen
7 Sergei Yerkovich D 190 92 9/3/74 Metallurg
9 Alexander Andrievski F 196 100 10/8/69 Revier Lowen
10 Viktor Karachun F 187 90 12/8/68 EC Wilhelmshaven
11 Vadim Bekbulatov F 182 85 8/3/70 Vityasz Podolsk
13 Andrei Kovalev F 182 86 2/4/66 Revier Lowen
14 Vasily Pankov F - - - Augsburger Panthers
16 Andrei Skabelka F 186 90 20/01/70 Lada Togliatti
17 Aleksei Kalyuzhny F 187 87 13/06/77 Metallurg
18 Oleg Antonenko F 187 90 11/7/71 Torpedo N Novogorod
21 Oleg Mikulchik D 188 90 21/07/64 Sovjet Wings
23 Ruslan Salei D - - - Anaheim
24 Dmitry Starostenko F 182 88 18/03/73 C/S/K/A/ Moscow
26 Sergey Stas D 181 90 28/04/74 Augsburger Panthers
27 Alexander Zhurik D 193 98 29/05/75 Avangard Omsk
28 Konstantin Koltsov F 185 88 17/04/81 AK Bars Kazan
29 Vladimir Tsyplakov G - - - Berlin Capitals
31 Andrei Mezin GK 180 75 8/7/74 Berlin Capitals
32 Dmitry Pankov F 184 88 29/10/74 Torpedo N Novogorod
33 Leonid Fatikov GK 190 100 24/04/68 Lada Togliatti
37 Andrei Rasolko F 181 80 13/09/68 Severstal

A 2-1 loss to Switzerland yesterday was meaningless.

But that may be as good as it gets for Belarus, who have few recognizable names on their roster not a crime as Canada has found to its peril when facing the Czech Republic in recent years.

Vladimir Tsyplakov, Dmitri Khristich and Ruslan Salei are the names most North Americans might recognize.

And there the mystery begins.

Oleg Mikulchik scored the game winner for Belarus in their opening game win over the Ukraine. Mikulchik played 37 games for Winnipeg and Anaheim from 1993-96.

A very physical grinding style of game from the French failed to faze Belarus in their 3-1 victory earlier in the week, boding well for what they may face when they run into NHL calibre opposition later in the tournament.

The Belarusans also appear capable of playing a strong defensive game, giving up only three goals in three opening round games, backstopped in net by Sergei Shabanov.

No team in the tourney can be taken likely and Belarus is no exception.

Belarus also qualified for the final eight in Nagano before finishing the tourney 2-4-1.

Calgarypuck.com - Salt Lake Center

 

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