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U.S. Olympic Men's Ice Hockey Team Powers Past Belarus, 5-2

By USA Hockey, 02/14/98, 8:00AM MST


NAGANO, Japan - The United States used a prolific power-play and third-period goals from forwards Brett Hull (St. Louis Blues/Belleville, Ontario) and Adam Deadmarsh (Colorado Avalanche/Trail, B.C.) to defeat Belarus, 5-2, here Saturday afternoon in the XVIII Olympic Winter Games men's ice hockey tournament. The United States improved to 1-1-0 in the round-robin portion of the championship round, while Belarus fell to 0-2-0.

With the United States leading by a goal midway through the third period and skating on the power-play, Hull blasted a slapshot from 35-feet away past Belarus goaltender Andrei Mezin to give Team USA a 4-2 advantage. Hull's power-play goal, one of four for Team USA in the game, was assisted by forward Doug Weight (Edmonton Oilers/Warren, Mich.) and defenseman Kevin Hatcher (Pittsburgh Penguins/Detroit, Mich.).

Deadmarsh then used assists from forwards Bill Guerin (Edmonton Oilers/Wilbraham, Mass.) and Jeremy Roenick (Phoenix Coyotes/Boston, Mass.) to score at 18:14 of the third period and put the United States on top, 5-2.

The United States built a 2-0 lead midway through the first period on a pair of power-play goals from defenseman Chris Chelios (Chicago Blackhawks/Chicago, Ill.) and forward Pat LaFontaine (New York Rangers/St. Louis, Mo.). The two goals were scored just 1:25 apart, and both came with the United States skating on a two-man advantage.

Belarus notched its first goal of the game at 18:02 of the first period when forward Viktor Karachun worked a rebound past U.S. goaltender Mike Richter (New York Rangers/Abington, Pa.).

The United States re-established its two-goal lead at 8:16 of the second period when defenseman Brian Leetch (New York Rangers/Corpus Christi, Texas) scored on a wrist shot from the right face-off circle. Leetch's power-play goal was assisted by forward John LeClair (Philadelphia Flyers/St. Albans, Vt.) and Hull.

Belarus again pulled to within one goal just :27 into the third period when forward Vasili Pankov beat Richter on a shot to the glove side, but Hull and Deadmarsh answered for the United States and put the game away.

Richter made 28 saves to collect his first victory in the XVIII Olympic Winter Games, while Mezin stopped 26 shots for Belarus. The United States capitalized on four of eight power-play opportunities, while Belarus was held scoreless on seven power-play chances.

Following an off-day Sunday, the United States plays its final round-robin game Monday afternoon against Canada, with face-off set for 1:45 p.m. in Big Hat Arena. Belarus closes round-robin play Monday against Sweden.


Team USA 2 1 2 5
Team Belarus 1 0 1 2

First period -- Scoring: 1, USA, Chelios (LaFontaine), 9:06 (pp). 2, USA, LaFontaine (Leetch, K. Hatcher), 10:31 (pp). 3, BLR, Karachun (Lozhkin, Galchenyuk), 18:02. Penalties: Schneider, USA (cross checking), 4:24; Tsyplakov, BLR (cross checking), 4:29; Bench minor, BLR (too many men on ice), 7:24; Karachun, BLR (holding the stick), 8:50; Bench minor, BLR (too many men on ice), 10:07; Tkachuk, USA (slashing), 11:53.

Second period -- Scoring: 4, USA, Leetch (LeClair, Hull), 8:16 (pp). Penalties: Guerin, USA (cross checking), 5:13; Matushkin, BLR (interference), 7:29; Roenick, USA (roughing), 9:41; Schneider, USA (high sticking), 17:35.

Third period -- Scoring: 5, BLR, Pankov (Skabelka, Bekbulatov), :27. 6, USA, Hull (Weight, K. Hatcher), 13:45 (pp). 7, USA, Deadmarsh (Guerin, Roenick), 18:14. Penalties: Langenbrunner, USA (tripping), 2:40; Zankovets, BLR (tripping), 10:27; Erkovich, BLR (boarding), 13:10; Tkachuk, USA (roughing), 18:49; Karachun, BLR (holding), 18:49.

Shots on goal USA 12-9-10 -- 31; BLR 9-11-10 -- 30.
Goalies USA, Richter (30 shots, 28 saves); BLR, Mezin (31 shots, 26 saves).
Penalties -- USA 7/14; BLR 8/16.
Power Plays -- USA 4/8; BLR 0/7.
Attendance 9,975.