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Belarus win Christmas amateur ice hockey tournament

Belarus defeated Russia 6-1 to win the 14th Christmas amateur ice hockey tournament for the prizes of the President of Belarus on 7 January, BelTA has learned. 

The two finalists had a good run at the preliminary stage, each taking three victories. The final was looking to be a close fight, but the game was mainly decided in the first 20 minutes. 

The hosts opened the scoring three minutes into the game. Alexander Kulakov put his team on the scoreboard. Soon after Daniel Corso scored twice and Dmitry Meleshko sent home a fourth before the first break. Belarus scored one more early in the second period. 

On the 27th minute Olympic champion Sergei Svetlov gave Russia its first goal. Midway through the middle stanza Russians got a chance for a powerplay and even scored, but the goal was waved off because of the violation of the rules. 

Russia had a number of opportunities to narrow the gap in the final period, but Stepan Goryachevskikh stood strong in the Belarusian net. The final score was set by Alexander Lukashenko who scored four seconds before the final hooter. 

The teams of Belarus and Russia faced each other 11 times at the final of the Christmas amateur ice hockey tournament. Finland reached the final of the tournament twice. Bronze of the current competitions went to the Czech Republic who beat the UAE 11-2. 

The best players of the 14th Christmas amateur ice hockey tournament for the prizes of the President of Belarus included Stepan Goryachevskikh (goaltender, Belarus), Yan Golubovsky (defenseman, Russia), Pavel Belyi (forward, Belarus). Vaclav Kral (Czech Republic) was named the best striker with 18 points (ten goals and eight assists). 

The award ceremony also named the best players of the U15 Golden Puck tournament. These were goaltender Dmitry Krasnukhin, defenseman Alexander Golovach and forward Yegor Rynkevich (all from Medved team). Nikolai Lukashenko (Minsk Griffons) was named the best striker with 16 points (ten goals and six assists). 

The team of the President of Belarus is the eleven-time winner of the Christmas international tournament now. Team Russia is a three-time champion (2007, 2011 and 2015). 

The organizers of the event are the President's Sports Club, the Belarusian Ice Hockey Federation (BIHF), the Ministry of Sport and Tourism, the Minsk City Hall, the Education Ministry, the National Olympic Committee, the Federation of Trade unions of Belarus and the BRSM Youth Union.