Skip to main content

Belarusian goalie makes bizarre choice, injured after leaving bench and failing to break up empty net attempt

Belarus goaltender Ivan Kulbakov injured himself on a bizarre play in which he leapt off the bench in an attempt to break up an empty net try by Slovakia. Kulbakov caused a too many men penalty that resulted in an awarded goal for Slovakia, and he needed to be helped off the ice with an apparent knee injury.
The Hockey News

The Hockey News

The World Junior Championship produces a number of highlight-reel plays every tournament because of the best-on-best nature of the games, but Belarusian goaltender Ivan Kulbakov may have made the most notable play of the 2016 competition thanks to a bizarre decision Sunday.

Belarus was trailing Slovakia 3-2 late in Sunday’s game when Kulbakov was taken out of the net for an extra attacker. With 25 seconds remaining, however, Slovakia had managed to break out of their zone and head towards the empty Belarus net. It was then Kulbakov made the incredibly confusing decision to hop back onto the ice — creating a too many men penalty against Belarus — to charge at Slovakia’s Juraj Siska in an attempt to break up the empty net try.

Instead, Kulbakov fell awkwardly and appeared to injure his right leg while Siska skated around the downed netminder:

Because of Kulbakov’s strange attempt, Siska missing the empty net didn’t really matter: the officiating crew awarded Slovakia with the empty-net goal, though it was still credited to Siska.

Kulbakov had to be helped off the ice after what had been an outstanding game for the 19-year-old netminder. He made 35 saves and was named Belarus’ player of the game for the second straight game. There are no reports on the severity of his injury, but it didn’t look good and seems unlikely he’ll be starting in goal Tuesday when Belarus plays Russia.

(Video via



Screenshots: KHL Uncertainty, Sami Jo Small, and the Kraken Mascot

Adam Proteau looks at the uncertainty surrounding North American players in the KHL, the PHF's Toronto Six hiring Sami Jo Small, and the unveiling of the Seattle Kraken's new mascot.


Hurricanes Sign de Haan to One-Year Deal

The Carolina Hurricanes have signed defenseman Calvin de Haan to a one-year deal after inviting him to training camp.


NHL Burning Questions: Vancouver Canucks

Adam Proteau takes a look at the burning questions surrounding the Vancouver Canucks heading into the 2022-23 NHL Season.