January 8, 2019

Yesterday two Great Britain teams were in action in their respective World Championship events.

Nearing the end of their tournament, Great Britain’s U18 Women faced top-seeded side Austria in Katowice, losing out 3-0 in the end after putting up a fantastic battling performance.  Ella Howard made 42 saves in net for GB, with the Austrian’s only icing the game late on with goals in 58th and 59th minutes.

Head coach, Cheryl Smith, said: “I’m so proud of the whole squad. They knew they needed to respond after the Norway game and they did that.

“We had momentum at times but ran into penalties which turned the tables and then we had to rebuild.

“We gave them very specific instructions and they stuck to them. We made a bad change and it cost us the first goal but from then on we pushed hard.

“We nullified their game in our defensive zone and at times they had no answer. Their second came from a powerplay goal but up until that moment we had Austria on the back foot and I felt we were going to score.

“Sometimes hockey can be cruel. All I know now is our first period tomorrow has to be as good as today’s game.”

GB’s final game is against Poland at 8pm (7pm UK time) this evening, with a live webcast from the IIHF website.

In Vilnius, Lithuania, Great Britain’s U20 side played their second game of the tournament, winning 6-3 over the host nation.

Austin Mitchell-King scored twice as GB move up to third in the standings after two matches.

GB led by two before the six-minute mark as Mitchell-King netted at the backdoor from Patrick Larkin’s pass (1:58) and Tyler Cooper scored on the powerplay in the slot after a well-worked move (5:42).

Martynas Grinius pounced on the rebound to close the gap (14:28) before two goals in 70 seconds in the second period put GB firmly in the box seat.

Lithuania netminder Laurynas Lubys gave the puck straight to Larkin fresh out the box and he made it 3-1 at 23:56, while Joe Hazeldine’s shot from the left wing sneaked in (25:06).

Nikita Kuzminov replaced Lubys in the Lithuania goal but he was soon picking the puck out of the net when Alex Graham scored from close range after tic-tac-toe on the powerplay (35:29).

Grinius scored his second of the night after he had room in front of the net (39:42).

Mitchell-King grabbed his second after a goalmouth scramble (49:06), while Timonas Mazulis’ rebound on the powerplay 47 seconds later was merely a consolation (49:53).

Head coach, Martin Grubb, said: “We knew the importance of the game and we were determined to get off to a good start and put Lithuania under pressure early.

“We got a great start and the early goal settled us and allowed us to set the tempo.

“We asked the players to keep out-working them in the second and stay disciplined. We did a good job with that and that allowed us to get the powerplay working and get into a nice lead.

“It was important we didn’t switch off in the third and kept doing the little things right and get the result we deserved.

“The boys deserve tremendous praise for their response tonight and the way they played. It’s nice to get our first points on the board in the tournament.”

There’s no games today but GB next play on Thursday when they face Romania at 3:30pm (1:30pm UK time).  The match is being shown live on FreeSports.

Words and photo courtesy IHUK