Denmark Sweeps Relegation Round to Send Belarus Down

Denmark Sweeps Relegation Round to Send Belarus Down

Steven Ellis04 Jan 2018Steven Ellis»

Denmark has sent Belarus back to Division IA after winning the 2018 World Junior relegation round by a score of 3-2 in the shootout on Thursday.


Denmark has sent Belarus back to Division IA after winning the 2018 World Junior relegation round by a score of 3-2 in the shootout on Thursday.

The Danes scored two back-to-back goals to get the game started right for Belarus. At 10:47, Daniel Nielsen scored from in close when he took a shot that deflected off of Belarusian blueliner Vladislav Garbus, beating Andrei Grishenko to make it 1-0.

Two minutes later, they got another one. Vegas Golden Knights prospect Jonas Rondbjerg doubled Canada's lead with another shot in close from Joachim Blichfeld, tapping in the puck to end Grishenko's night early after two goals on two shots in close proximity.

The entire arena became silent midway through the period when the Danes lost Joachim Blichfeld for the rest of the game. The San Jose Sharks prospect was hit hard by Dimitri Deryabin, hitting his back first into the boards between the benches. Blichfeld would require a stretcher to get off the ice, but did offer thumbs up to the Danish bench as he was taken away.

Belarus had done a good job of keeping games close against stronger opponents in Buffalo, and they cut the lead in half with 11 minutes left in the game. On the power play, Owen Sound Attack forward Maxim Sushko made it 2-1 after one-timing a feed from Vladislav Yeryomenko to make it 2-1.

Less than a minute later, Belarus kept their chances alive by tying the game up at two. Ilya Litvinov knotted the contest at two after sneaking into the rush and one-timing Viktor Bovbel's pass in front, beating Kasper Krog to make it 2-2 with the game heating up.

The game would require a shootout to decide each team's fate for the 2019 World Juniors. Jacob Schmidt-Svejstrup got the game-winning shot after multiple Danish players found the back of the net, giving Denmark the win to finish ninth in the tournament.

Denmark will stay in Group A for the 2019 World Juniors in Vancouver and Victoria, playing in the group with whoever wins the tournament on Friday. It's the fourth year that the Danes will stay up, with their best tournament being a fifth-place result a year ago in Montreal. Belarus will be replaced by Kazakhstan, heading back to Division IA after just getting promoted up a year ago. 

Follow me on Twitter, @StevenEllisNHL.

Photo from Anders Marshall/Euro Hockey

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