Crazy Night in the AHL

December 18, 2014

A crazy night in the American Hockey League.

Normally I wouldn’t be writing about a selection of fixtures in the AHL during a Wednesday evening in December. Even more so when you consider the Toronto Marlies weren’t in action.

However I’m compelled to do so, as this Wednesday 17th December brought perhaps the craziest night’s action in the league’s history.

We’ll start with three goals in 21 seconds. Yes you read that right.

Lehigh Valley Phantoms played host to the Binghamton Senators, and even with Christmas around the corner, the home team weren’t going to be charitable.

Lehigh opened the scoring just 15 seconds in as Petr Straka scored off a feed from Steven Delisle. Off the ensuing face-off to restart the game, Lehigh kept possession of the puck and at the 27 second mark Jason Akeson fire home although Andrew Hammond in net for Binghamton definitely over-committed to his right. The Senators net minder’s evening would be done after 36 seconds as he let a speculative shot from the stick Andrew Gordon from the right boards somehow creep under him. I’ll put it down to shellshock but that was an ugly goal.

The Phantoms three goal burst ties the record held by the Hershey Bears, who scored three times in 21 seconds during a 7-1 win over the Cleveland Barons on Nov. 14, 1962. It wasn’t all plain sailing for Lehigh as they eventually only won by a score of 5-3.

The Manchester Monarchs went into Portland and absolutely spanked the Pirates in a game notable for the contributions by Andy Andreoff.

Andreoff-Andy-Manchester-AHL

Sent down to the Monarchs by the L.A Kings for a conditioning stint, the former Oshawa General took the headlines. He scored a hat-trick inside a twenty minute spell and had a four point night as Monarchs won 8-2. There were no power play markers as Manchester dominated even strength play. Portland did pull within a goal to make it a 2-1 game but Manchester eased away by netting four times in 16 minutes to keep the Pirates in their current downward spiral.

So if you’re keeping count, that’s 18 goals through two games and the goals kept flying in.

Just five goals in Rochester but it was the home town team who lost out as Syracuse tallied three times on just 18 shots. Both of Rochester’s goal were scored on the man advantage, but they couldn’t keep pegging back the Crunch who took the lead on three occasions,

Syracuse extended their win steak to seven and now tie the Springfield Falcons for the Northeast Division lead.

There were also “just” five goals in Chicago but once more it was the road team who would come out on top. Adirondack tallied three of their four goals on the power play as they eased away to third period win after a single goal through forty minutes. Culkin and Baertschi both recorded a pair of assists on the man advantage as the special teams proved the difference. Joni Ortio won his 14th game of the season and now ties the lead in that category with Breube of Manchester Monarchs. The victory solidified the Flames fourth place position in the Western Conference and drew them within two points of the North Division leaders Utica Comets.

Only two of the five games would see the home fans cheering a victory and the second of those were the Hamilton Bulldogs faithful as they witnessed their team give St. Johns IceCaps a good thumping.

Despite trailing by an IceCaps marker midway through the first, Hamilton responded in the second period to tie the game on the power play and it was the start of four unanswered goasl including both man advantage markers by Bennett. Dietz and Carr also had multi-point games for the host as they ran out comfortable 5-2 winners. Hamilton were a perfect two for two on the power play, Mike Condon made 37 saves and victory extended the Bulldogs point streak to six games

Five games saw 35 goals, history made, a hat-trick and a pair of outstanding goaltending displays.

Who said AHL hockey was boring?

 


Bibeau freezes out St. Johns

December 15, 2014

The Toronto Marlies extended their points streak to four games with an emphatic victory over old enemies, the St. John’s Icecaps.

The last meeting of the season between these two, which is a shame considering the history, was Teddy Bear Toss Game at Ricoh Coliseum and the home fans came ready with plenty of ammunition for those less fortunate children this Christmas.

The fans would have to hold fire during the opening frame as despite their team starting well, they were unable to fire enough shots to test Connor Hellebuyck . Marlies made all the early running with the third line of Bodie-Manderson-Biggs having lots of jump. Frattin was showing some speed also but his effort presented a rebound that no one in white was able to capitalise on.

Abbott wasn’t shy of shooting either and his effort from the left wing gave two rebounds up that neither he or Rupert could bang home. Penalty trouble then bestowed the baby buds and the penalty kill had to be exceptional.

A Bodie penalty would be killed but followed up by two delay of game penalties called within 33 seconds of one another. In hindsight that was probably the visitors best chance of imposing themselves on the game, but they managed one shot I believe, in a period where they only tallied four efforts on Bibeau. There would be late drama as Brenden Kichton thought he tallied in the dying seconds but the buzzer was clearly heard before the shot was taken and rightly the goal was waived off.

The Teddy Bears wouldn’t have to wait long for their adventure over the boards and onto the ice in the second period.

It was the third line making waves again as Bodie drove hard to the net, and made a drop pass to Manderson who saw his effort stopped, Knodel jumping into the play also was denied but the puck fell to Bodie below the goal line and he expertly banked it in off the backside of Hellebuyck to open the scoring 43 seconds in. Sometimes the clear up operation can kill the momentum but not for these Marlies right now, as Carrick and Brown instigated an odd-man rush with neither of them either to get the final touch on the rebound effort.

Bibeau had to stay alert on another Marlies penalty and caught a break as a shot trickled through him but seemed to lay on the post before he covered it up to deny any second chance.

If that was fortunate then the next save was sheer brilliance. Albert with an outstanding move around his man to set-up rookie Chase Balisy all alone in front but Bibeau stonewalled him.

It’d prove the catalyst to extending the lead as St. Johns became a little frustrated and ran into Bibeau, drawing a penalty. On the delayed call, Percy went right around the back of his net, got his head up to send a long bomb pass to Tyler Biggs steaming in on net. A confident Biggs wasted little time in sniping top shelf to double the lead.

Heading into the third period, yesterday’s OT loss would prove to be enough motivation for the home team not to throw away this lead. With points at a premium, the Marlies did a hell of a job shutting down the IceCaps who looked like the tired team, despite having played one less game than their hosts this weekend. A power play marker would essentially seal the deal and it was back to simple plays again to tally on the man advantage. Percy with the blast from the point and Byron Froese with the crafty tip in front.

Even a pair of penalties, that included some 5 on 3 time on the power play for the IceCaps failed to generate much in the way of clear cut chances to make a dent in the Marlies lead. The icing on the cake come on a late power play as the IceCaps pulled their net minder regardless and Spencer Abbott was the beneficiary with his fifth of the season in what turned out to be a good weekend for the Marlies.

Post Game Notes:

Marlies took five points from a possible six this weekend and December has been more like it with a 5-1-1-0 record.

Averaging 3.5 goals per game during this month has been the key difference, and you can see the change in confidence throughout the team. Being able to do that without McKegg and now Leivo, shows some spirit in the camp.

Antoine Bibeau recorded his third shutout of the season, a franchise record for a Marlies rookie goaltender. Just 21 saves but came up big on a couple of occasions when the game was still in the balance.

Can you say impact? Byron Froese failed to record a point in a three game loan stint for San Antonio Rampage earlier this season. Three games with the Marlies this weekend have garnered four point for him, including two goals.

After going pointless until registering an assist in the last game, Percy put up another two helped in this game for three on the season. Showing both facets of his offensive game to a tee. A great outlet pass to Biggs, than a bomb of a shot from the point. More please Stuart!

Connor Brown took none of the headlines but kept his point streak going to four games, his longest so far.

Marlies have got themselves back within a chance of being .500 by the New Year.

Now five points shy of eight place in the West and have a huge weekend ahead of them. They’ll play the three teams immediately ahead of them in the standings. Grand Rapids on the road with home fixtures against Texas and Milwaukee.

 


GB U20’s finish unbeaten in claiming Gold.

December 14, 2014

2015 IIHF ICE HOCKEY U20 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP Div. II Group A Game Day 5

Two teams with not much to play for but pride in the last game of the tournament.

GB sure of the gold medal but wanting to go through the tournament unbeaten but Estonia, clear of relegation thanks to beating Romania on day two, looking to put on one last show for home fans.

The first period was a pretty low key affair as both teams found it hard to get their legs going.

Just two chances in the opening seven minutes as GB’s Betteridge saw his effort from the high slot well saved while Jordan Hedley made a pair of fine stops on debut.

A pair of power plays would be wasted by GB, who only fired eight shots in the opening frame but they were able to make one count with 4:15 to play.

Lewis Hook redirecting a shot from Bobby Chamberlain, as that line remained dynamite as ever.

A minute into the second frame and Jordan Hedley made a huge save, and that set up a rush going the other way in which Sam Duggan came agonisingly close to doubling the lead.

GB asserted their dominance over the hosts for the first time in the game and would end up out-shooting them 15-8. You felt that GB only had to pres the accelerator button to extend the lead but once again it wasn’t until late in the period until we saw another goal.

Estonia had just killed a penalty before taking a too many men penalty straight afterwards.

It’s the silly penalties that generally make you pay and once more Hook was the beneficiary of Cownie and Chamberlain as his low shot gave Seppenen in the Estonian net no chance.

GB 2-0

Estonian came out the blocks fast in the third period, doubtless with the words of their coach ringing in the ears. A breakaway saw Hedley have to pull off a wonderful glove save to deny Estonia getting back in the game, but with Balmer charged with holding on the play, the hosts were awarded a penalty shot.

Hedley was equal to the shot by Russ but 30 seconds later the home fans would have something to cheer. A mad goal-mouth scramble would see the officials credit the goal to Estonia’s Vasjonkin which spoiled Hedley’s shutout attempt at 44:15.

Estonia’s push to tie the game turned into frustration as the struggled to get shots on net and took various penalties.

With time running down and an empty home team net, it was left to Bobby Chamberlain to provide the goal that ensured GB would remain unbeaten and give him his sixth goal of the tournament.

GB 3-1

The celebrations began at the final horn and continued through the various awards handed out to all teams.

GB 1 celly

gb04

GB05

Jordan Cownie was rightly given two individual awards but his line was exceptional and he and Hook registered eleven points a piece while Bobby Chamberlain had twelve, including six goals which was a tournament high.

Scoring:

1 – 0 EQ GBR 8. HOOK Lewis from (12. CHAMBERLAIN Bobby)

2 – 0 PP1 GBR 8. HOOK Lewis from (12. CHAMBERLAIN Bobby) & (14. COWNIE Jordan)

3 – 1 ENG GBR 12. CHAMBERLAIN Bobby from (21. ANTONOV Ivan) & (14. COWNIE Jordan)

BEST PLAYERS SELECTED BY THE DIRECTORATE

Best Forward 14 COWNIE Jordan GBR – Great Britain

BEST PLAYERS OF EACH TEAM SELECTED BY COACHES

GBR 14 COWNIE Jordan

Final Rankings

1 GBR 14Pts

2 LTU 09Pts

3 KOR 09Pts

4 NED 05Pts

5 EST 04Pts

6 ROU 04 Pts

 


Marlies Capped by St. Johns

December 14, 2014

Two teams that have struggled to put the puck in the net this season, broke out into what turned out to be a goal fest, sharing eleven tallies.

Despite travelling back to Toronto through the night from Utica, it was the home team Marlies who started the best in a fast pace to the game with barely any whistles.

Slightly against the run of play it was the visitors who opened the scoring as Melchiori behind the net showed patience to find Eric O’Dell who was inexplicably all alone and he doesn’t miss those chances, to tally his tenth of the year.

It didn’t take Toronto long to respond with a power play marker. Connor Brown measuring his shot over the shoulder of Connor Hellebuyck, on a goal where Christopher Gibson registered an assist. Both defense’s weren’t looking at all good and St. Johns took advantage of a Marlies breakdown to score the third goal in a five minute spell. Another play from behind the net and this time O’Dell turned provider for Klingberg to fire home from a bad angle.

Rookie Connor Brown would come the closest to tying the game with five minutes remaining as the Marlies trailed 2-1 after twenty minutes. He ensured the lead didn’t last long into the second however, Picking up a long pass from Mikkelson he drove to the net and was forced wide and past the net by Hollenbeck , but showed great composure and skill to bank it in off the net minder just nine seconds in. Before two minutes of the middle frame had elapsed and Toronto took the lead for the first time.

Spencer Abbott keeping the play alive down the left boards and found Ryan Rupert with a no-look, reverse pass. Rupert wasted no time in spinning around in the left circle and firing home a wrist shot that took Hellebuyck by surprise. Both coaches must have been tearing their hair out and playbooks in half as the teams shared five second period goals, with defensive errors and some poor goaltending on show. A mere 40 seconds had passed before it was a tie game once more at three a piece and it was the weirdest goal you’re likely to see this season. A shot from Klingberg that Gibson got a piece of, hit the crossbar and pounced down, took a deflection, a weird bounce and O’Dell sitting on his backside with his stick vertically, somehow got a touch to put the puck home.

The Marlies should have made sure of the game after again taking the lead, and a second on the much maligned power play. A two man advantage and Frattin found Sammy Carrick to the left of the net, who responded as quick as a flash with a “JVR move” and sniped home for as sweet a goal he’ll score this season Toronto with a 4-3 lead had several chances to extend the lead. Manderson seeing his shot saved and Brown so close to sneaking home the rebound. Frattin driving to the net made another nice play for Brown but once more he would be denied by Hellebuyck between the pipes. Ryan Rupert and Byron Froese were showing some of the chemistry from the Utica game and came close to padding the lead.

St. Johns to their credit stuck with it and Jason Jaffray tied the game with a rocket from the left circle that beat Gibson short side via the iron. Definitely one that the net minder would want back.

In a more contained third period, that may have had more to do with tired legs than anything else, it was Toronto who edged again once more and it was another beauty. Matt Frattin managed to beat out the icing call and with nothing obvious on for him, he kept hold of the puck, cycling all the way around the left boards on the outside, working his way eventually into the high slot before releasing a wicked wrister that had eyes to beat all the traffic in front and hit the twine.

That should have been enough as the visitors struggled to muster much offense as the clock wound down. Two late icing calls by the Marlies put themselves under unnecessary pressure and with the extra man on the ice St. Johns tied the game and it was that man O’Dell with the hat-trick marker with 31 seconds left on the clock.

If that wasn’t enough of a hammer blow, then the officials deemed an innocuous play by Froese to be high sticking with 17 seconds left in regulation. On a night where officials called barely anything, it was a remarkable call in a game so finely in the balance.

Toronto held on to take the game into overtime but down a man in extra hockey proved to be their nemesis. A shot by Cornell took a deflection in front to give Gibson no chance.

Toronto had no one but themselves to blame in a game they should have taken two points from but they still have a chance to make it five from a possible six this weekend with victory against St. Johns Sunday afternoon as the two teams once more do battle at Ricoh.

Post Game Notes:

Marlies registered 36 shots, a season high.

Sam Carrick had a three point night as he continues to heat up after a slow start. Eight points in six games through December.

Connor Brown showing he’s not just a set-up man as his two goals takes him to seven for the season.

Matt Frattin recorded a pair of points but perhaps more importantly, the goal he scored was reminiscent of the player Marlies fans remember with fondness and shows a level of confidence is returning.

Goaltending has been excellent for the Marlies and I’m not going to rag on Gibson, but this was his poorest performance of the season I’d wager. The defense in front of him did him no favours to be honest though.

Colton Orr returned from injury, but the Marlies lost Leivo to go along with McKegg as Toronto continues to be unable to dress their strongest line-up.

 


Marlies thanks from across the Ocean

December 13, 2014

I confess that I fell into becoming a Toronto Marlies fan and then ultimately following them so closely.

I cannot remember which year I attended my first game but the turning point for me was attending one of the “Meet me at the Marlies” events hosted by Laura Hickey with some input from the indomitable Clayton Hansler who was also running the Marlies twitter account at the time.

I felt so welcomed into the “Marlies family” despite essentially being this stranger from 3500 miles away with the “weird accent.” I’m sure a few of those who attended that day remember Joey Crabb chirping me by saying “what do Brits know about hockey anyhow!” Getting to meet a player in that light-hearted atmosphere just added to occasion and Crabb seemed to enjoy mingling with the fans, and in no way appeared to be a chore to him.

I was far from the knowledgeable hockey fan I like to think I am now. I knew next to nothing about the rules and regulations of the AHL, let alone the process the players have to take in the minors. The more I learnt, the more I appreciated the league and grew an attachment to the Marlies.

The welcoming nature of the fans, the cheap cost of attending games and getting to watch exciting young players before they hit the big time were all big draws. It was always more than just about the hockey, though getting “my fix” of the game live is something I crave as most of you know.

Perhaps the biggest draw was getting to meet new people and make new friends through social media and then in person when I made my pilgrimage to Toronto.

Especially so when I started writing about the baby buds on my own blog, before being asked to contribute my Marlies musings to the Leafs website “We Want A Cup.”

As the reach of my writing grew, I was able to interact with many more fans and some great people, with some I now consider to be good friends. I appreciate the goodwill that heads in my direction for my passion, staying up until the stupid hours and my views on the team.

In all honesty though, it’s a complete and utter pleasure. I get a real kick out of following this team, as much as I do the Leafs but it’s different, more intimate somehow. I love conversing with everyone about the team and sharing the high’s of some great seasons and some lows of course.

The madness of flying over for a few days to attend the home games of the Calder Cup Finals will live with me forever. The class the fans showed to one of the great AHL teams, Norfolk Admirals, in winning game four and the championship will also live long in the memory.

I was truly touched when some of you fine Marlies people collaborated to send me a “Marlies care package” in time for Christmas. Words on the internet can’t really can’t go any way to conveying how much that gesture means to me, but here goes.

I wanted to say thank you in a more expansive way than just through a tweet or a DM.

So thank you for being so inclusive and such great fans.

Thank you for your friendship and for making the Marlies a fun team to follow through the medium of social media and I can’t wait to meet some of you again and some for the very first time.

Thank you so much for the kind gifts which I shall treasure and add to my small but growing collection.

I wish you all a very Happy Christmas and send love from my family to yours.

Your (slightly crazy) friend across the ocean,

Mark

 


Bibeau the hero as Marlies find a way to win.

December 13, 2014

The task facing the Marlies was huge.

Playing the top AHL team in their home building where they hold a 9-1-1 record.

Utica had won three straight coming into this game, only allowing 57 goals in 25 games and with Eriksson in net during December the Comets were 4-0.

The Marlies needed their best players to be their best players and Antoine Bibeau was just that.

Toronto actually made a decent start, using foot speed to good effect and putting Utica on the back foot. That was until Utica were handed their first man advantage of the game and the Marlies were thankful to Antoine Bibeau in coming through that unscathed. Leivo would then leave the game and not return with what looked like a shoulder injury but definitely upper body.

Utica would heavily out-shoot the visitors in the opening frame but that was skewed slightly by Toronto’s failure to put the puck on net when presented with opportunities. The best of Bibeau’s 15 saves would be a stop on Dustin Jeffrey who normally doesn’t miss when alone in front and the game was scoreless after twenty minutes.

To the Marlies credit they responded by dominating early in the middle frame. Manderson and Bodie setting the pace from the outset as the former shot just wide and the latter’s wraparound attempt was well saved. Frattin, Brown and Manderson again all had efforts but failed to hit the net. Bodie was having an inspired game and almost set-up Rupert but the rookie was stoned by Eriksson. The Marlies last chance during this spell of pressure fell to Bodie who engineered a turnover with speed and desire but once more Eriksson came up with a huge save.

Utica responded with a huge shift, spending a good two minutes in the Marlies zone as the baby buds were caught running around and Bibeau was once again called upon. Surviving the barrage, Toronto hit back with an offensive face-off win and Nilsson wasted no time in releasing a wrist shot that sent the sound of ringing iron around the arena. It was all action as Alex Frieson was sent in all alone on a breakaway by a long bomb of a pass but Bibeau would not be beaten. Friesen then looked as if he had scored but the goal was waived off due to a high stick and to add salt to the wound the Marlies were handed a power play.

The man advantage would not provide the opening goal but Toronto would open the scoring and from an unlikey source. It’d prove to be a night of “firsts” for the Marlies as Andrew MacWilliam blasted home his first professional goal with a good screen from Devane in front. McMillan’s assist on the goal was his first point as a Marlie.

Late in the period a Utica power play would see the home team tie the game up with seconds remaining. Jeffrey would hit the crossbar and DeFazio stoned by Bibeau before on a beautiful feed from Cal O’Reilly, Jensen smashed home his seventh of the season. A terrific goal and fantastic patience shown by O’Reilly, as we got a glimpse as to why he leads the league in assists.

I’m not even sure the Marlies came out of the dressing room after the second intermission as the ice wasn’t just tilted, more like a ski-slope as it was one-way traffic all headed in Antoine Bibeau’s direction. Utica led 14-0 in shots at one point and stormed to a two goal lead inside seven minutes of the third period.

Sanguinetti was left all alone in front to bury his seventh of the year at the two minute marker and despite making two fine saves Bibeau could not deny Jensen netting his second of the game four minutes later.

Thanks to Quebec native Bibeau, the Marlies hung in the game and shocked everyone watching by drawing within one with 6:30 to play.

Ryan Rupert with the centering pass and on hand was Byron Froese to tuck away his first goal as a Marlie. Roll on two and half minutes and we somehow had a tied game. It was roles reversed as Froese set-up Rupert for his first as a Marlie.

Once Utica composed themselves after this shock, they dominated the remainder of the period but Toronto held on to take the game to overtime and gain at least a point.

The miracle of all hockey miracles was completed four minute into overtime as Brown saw his two efforts on net stopped by Eriksson but enter Sam Carrick into the fray to slam home his FIRST of the season to seal the two points in a 4-3 victory and ensure the ride back to Toronto a more pleasant one.

Post Game Notes:

Antoine Bibeau made 46 saves and should have been the first star of the game. A remarkable performance by the rookie in just his tenth professional game. If anyone deserved a win like that it was him.

Denver Manderson and Byron Froese both impressed on debut but it was the latter who stole the headlines with two points and combined with Ryan Rupert to turn the game around. Froese was brought to score and he’s certainly started on the right foot.

Rupert wasn’t even considered much of a prospect coming out of camp but boy has he knuckled down, first in Orlando and now with the Marlies. Four points in six games for him now.

Leivo is a tough cookie and seeing him leave injured, not to return is a real concern for this weekend and beyond. It messed up the lines so early on and threw a spanner in some well laid plans.

Connor Brown continues to be a difference maker and if but for Eriksson, he would have scored the game winner but his tenacity in front to score allowed Carrick to do so.

December is a huge month of the Marlies with three in three’s for the most part. If they can win two in three or better then they could just sneak their way back into the hunt for a playoff spot.

Wins like this will go a long way toward that target.

 


GB claim GOLD in thrilling finale

December 12, 2014

2015 IIHF ICE HOCKEY U20 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP Div. II Group A

Game Day 4

Whatever happens in hockey, redemption is just another game away.

I’m sure being relegated by a technicality rankled with Peter Russell and his troops after battling hard in Division 1, Group B in December 2013.

Losing out to eventual Gold medallists Italy 3-4 in overtime, beating France in a shootout and then defeating Japan 4-2 to ensure they didn’t finish bottom of that group, showed they were more than capable of competing at that level.

Any kind of victory against the lowest seeded team, Korea, would see GB return to Div 1B at the first attempt. Korea have acquitted themselves well in this tournament and have proved to be no pushovers bar the last game and they pushed GB all the way in a game that ebbed and flowed until the very end.

GB had a couple of early opportunities as Cownie and Hook had backhand efforts turn aside by Kweonyoung Kim. Those saves looked even better as Korea took a lead at the 3:02 mark. Hwang blasting home from the slot after a smart drop pass from Mincheol Kim.

Korea’s speed was causing trouble for GB and Goss had to be alert a minute later to stop the scoreline becoming worse as he performed daylight robbery to deny a Korean forward twice. A rash of penalties followed and thee flow of the opening period was never really the same and with Kim in net turning aside all twelve shots, his team took a 1-0 lead into the second.

It’d take just 42 second of the middle frame for GB to respond as Lewis Hook found Chamberlain down the right side on an odd man rush. He took his time to settle down the puck before blasting home stick side. GB would be their own worst enemies as they gifted Korea back the lead. A turnover in their own zone presented Dohyung Kim with time and space and his accurate wrist shot beat an unsighted Goss.

Another turnover almost presented Korea a 3-1 lead but Goss performed a miraculous diving save as a Korean forward had an open net after the puck bounced back off the boards to him.

GB’s top line would restore parity and not before time. A lovely backhand pass from Cownie, Chamberlain denied with the first shot but Hook was on hand to tap home the rebound. For the first time it was GB in the ascendancy and on a power play following the goal they did everything but score as only some inspired blocking and goaltending denied them the go-ahead goal. Korea’s speed turned into their nemesis as GB broke up a rush and headed the other way en-route to taking the lead for the first time. Bobby Chamberlain on hand this time to put away the rebound after a wraparound attempt was saved. GB taking a 3-2 lead saw Korea switching goaltenders with Lee taking over from Kim. A late mad scramble in the GB end led to desperate defending and Moore took a penalty with three second remaining to kill the play dead.

GB Game 4 01

Within 13 seconds of the third period it was a two man advantage for the Korean’s as Forbes headed to the box. GB blocked shots, fought for every puck and Goss stood on his head but Korea would not be denied as Hwang pounced on a rebound and shot high to beat the despairing dive from Goss. A hammer blow for GB so early but they worked their way back into the period and regained the lead with 8:11 to play. Time was winding down on a power play but the young GB team stayed calm and patient with the puck. Chamberlain was found by Cownie to the left of the net and he roofed his shot where mama hides the cookie jar to give him a hat-trick and GB a 4-3 lead. Korea refused to lay down, still harbouring hopes of a medal, and a good fore-checking shift saw them force a turnover which Sangwon Kim made no mistake from alone in front.

Late pressure by both teams would not see a deciding goal and for the first time GB headed to extra hockey. Overtime would fail to resolve anything either as GB continued to giveaway the puck and Korea unable to take advantage of their opportunities by only putting the puck on net three times.

A shootout followed and it perfectly mirrored the ebb and flow of the 65 minutes of hockey that proceeded it.

Jordan Cownie shooting first and firing home five-hole. Korea would tie on the fourth shot and with Duggan having his effort saved Seo had the chance to win for his nation. Adam Goss would turn his effort aside to send the shootout to sudden death.

The order switched and with Goss stopping Hwang it was left to Cownie to win the game.

Coming in with pace, he seemed to deke the goaltender and himself and came close to touching the puck twice as it tricked past Lee. The referee calling a good goal sparked wild scenes of celebration from the GB lads as the bench cleared.

gb kkk

Gold claimed. Promotion achieved. Division 1B status regained.

Well deserved by the lads on the ice, the coaches and all those who contributed in small or large ways.

Delivering what was promised and with a game to spare. Nothing more can be asked.

The task now is to finish the tournament in style and unbeaten with the final match-up against hosts Estonia on Saturday evening.

Scoring:

1 – 1 EQ GBR 12. CHAMBERLAIN Bobby from (8. HOOK Lewis) & (5. MOORE Craig)

2 – 2 EQ GBR 8. HOOK Lewis from (12. CHAMBERLAIN Bobby) & (14. COWNIE Jordan)

2 – 3 EQ GBR 12. CHAMBERLAIN Bobby from (8. HOOK Lewis) & (14. COWNIE Jordan)

3 – 4 PP1 GBR 12. CHAMBERLAIN Bobby from (14. COWNIE Jordan) & (8. HOOK Lewis)

 


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