Team GB v France. Game Two 08/02/2013

Team GB v France Game Two 08/02/2013

Team GB lost their opener 6-2 to Latvia yesterday despite battling hard. Down a goal early, they tied it up before allowing a late power play goal to end the period down 2-1. Lots more penalties in the 2nd and despite a brave penalty killing display, GB were down 3-1 after 40 minutes.
The GB guys never gave up and despite giving up two more goals they responded with a power play goal of their own before Latvia finished the scoring.
A few negatives were too many penalties (though admittedly a couple were soft) and an inability to clear our own zone at times. Lack of face-off wins were a huge problem as well.
GB did create chances though, were tough on the fore-check, battled really hard and the play of the Steve Lyle in net, who was outstanding at times. Should not be under-estimated how well Team GB did to live with Latvia up until the hosts took the game away from them.

Official match report can be found here

The game against France today is slightly less daunting than Latvia but still a tough one!

France will be desperate to qualify for the Winter Olympics after missing out the last twice.
The French finish consistently around the top 12 or so when it comes to the World Championships and did even better in 2012 with 9th place.

Although they have no NHL/AHL standard guys like Latvia, a lot of their players play in the Czech, Swedish and German leagues which are of a better standard then the UK.
Here’s a few names to note for the game. These all played the opening game.

Brian Henderson is a 26 year old French/Canadian.
He spent a season in 2006/2007 with the Orleans Blues (CJHL) in which he recorded 52 points in 48 games. The Centreman is now plying his trade for Angers in France, with 10 points in 20 games this year.

Antonin Manavian.
The 25yr old Defenseman spent a couple of seasons in the QMJHL.
He’s bounced already quite a bit in his career but was playing in the ECHL as recently as 2010/2011.
Currently with HC Innsbruck.

Laurent Meunier is Captain of the French team and one of the veterans at 34.
Can play RW but mainly a Centreman, he played NCAA way back in 2000 for two seasons before a one season stint with the Florida Everblades (ECHL). Despite accumulating 51 points in 68 games, this was his last year in North American hockey.
Currently with Straubing Tigers (DEL).

Cristobal Huet is by far the best known player on this French roster.
The 37yr old goaltender was drafted in 2001 round 7 #214 overall by Los Angeles Kings.
Starting his NHL career with the team that drafted him and went on to play for the Montréal Canadiens, Washington Capitals & Chicago Blackhawks until 2009/2010. He won the Stanley Cup in the final season with the Blackhawks though only played one post season game, in which he posted a shutout.
Huet had 272 NHL games, recording 129 wins and posting a 9.13 save percentage and 2.46 goals against. Now plays his hockey for Lausanne in Switzerland.

France lost their first game to Kazakhstan 3-2 despite out-shooting them heavily, especially in the 3rd period. This should give Team GB plenty of hope as they have gave Kazakhstan a run for their money just two years ago in the World Championships, narrowly going down 2-1.
It’s do or die for the slim qualification hope’s for both teams which should make it an exciting if tense encounter.


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