Belarus splits first two games at Division I World Juniors

It’s been an up and down start so far for Belarus’ Under-20 hockey team at the Division I World Juniors in the country’s capital, Minsk.

After edging Austria in a 4-3 affair to start the tournament on Monday, Belarus dropped a 3-2 overtime decision to Latvia Tuesday.

The squad, which includes Prince Albert Raiders forwards Aliaksei Protas and Ilya Usau, are second in the six-team field with a 1-0-1 mark ahead of a game against Norway on Thursday morning.

Latvia currently leads the way with five points, while Belarus is just one point back.

Usau recorded an assist on Alexei Kotelovsky’s opening goal of the contest against Latvia, who got their overtime marker from Janis Svanenbergs.

Protas scored the game-winning goal on Monday during the early stages of the third period, while Usau lit the lamp on a power play in the opening frame.

The tournament will wrap up on Sunday, with the top team in the six-team round-robin earning a berth into the 2021 World Juniors in Edmonton and Red Deer.

Canadas Selection Camp

Brandon Wheat Kings blueliner and Prince Albert product Braden Schneider has joined 31 other players at Hockey Canada’s selection camp for the 2020 World Juniors, which gets underway on Dec. 26 in Ostrava and Trinec, Czech Republic.

Kamloops Blazers forward Connor Zary, who is from Saskatoon, was a late addition to the camp roster on Sunday as he replaced injured Moncton Wildcats forward Jakob Pelletier.

Canada will face a team of U Sports All-Stars in a pair of games on Wednesday and Thursday, with cuts expected to follow shortly after the second contest.

Once the team arrives in Europe, they will be joined by Detroit Red Wings forward prospect Joe Veleno.

Veleno, who two assists for Canada at last year’s World Juniors, has nine points in 25 games this season for the American Hockey League’s Grand Rapids Griffins.

World Junior A Challenge

Prince Albert’s Owen Ozar and his Canada West teammates will look to enter the win column on Wednesday at the World Junior A Challenge, as they’ll face a 1-0-1 Russia side in Dawson Creek, B.C.

Canada West currently sits at the bottom of the five-team field with a 0-2 mark after dropping a 3-2 contest to the United States on Saturday and a 5-1 affair to Canada East Sunday.

Their final round-robin game will take place Thursday evening against the Czech Republic.

Ozar, who plays for the Trail Smoke Eaters of the British Columbia Hockey League and is committed to the NCAA’s Denver Pioneers, has yet to record a point at the tournament.