France Review & Team GB v Kazakhstan Game Three
In a must win game for both teams, Team GB fell to France in Game 2 on Friday.Despite early chances for Robert Lachowicz, Ashley Tait and David Clarke, it was France who opened the scoring. Lack of discipline from Team GB led to early power plays for France and Laurent Meunier blasted home top shelf from inside the right circle. GB almost responded on the power play when Jason Hewitt was denied on the doorstep by Lhenry.
Down 1-0 going in the second period it was one way traffic with France dominating puck possession
Damien Raux hit the post early, but France didn’t wait long for their 2nd of the game with Bellemare scoring on a delayed penalty.
With 5 minutes left in the period Fleury’s scored yet another goal for France on the power play.
Down 3-0 you might have expected heads to drop but this isn’t the Team GB way it seems.
Early pressure presented a great chance for Robert Farmer, but he took an age to get a shot off and his eventual top shelf effort was well stopped by Lhenry. GB kept the momentum going and were rewarded less than four minutes into the period on the power play.
A goalmouth scramble ensued in front of the French net with the rebound eventually falling to Craig Peacock, who did incredibly well to sneak the puck in short side.
The GB players were visibly lifted and raised their level of play.
It was game on for real with 8.24 left when Lachowicz scored his first senior international goal with a lovely one time shot from the left circle.
Just two minutes later the comeback was cut short. Miscommunication behind the net involving Steve Lyle and his defence, allowed a juicy turnover for France and an easy tap-in for Bertrand for an eventual 4-2 win.
Soft penalties hurt Team GB early on, as did a second period performance when they allowed frustration to get the best of them. You will always get weak and questionable calls in European hockey and learning to deal with that is part of the process. More encouraging was the chances created through the game and the play in the 3rd period where they gave the French team something to worry about.
Post game notes:
Colin Shields & Mark Garside are 3rd and 4th (in tournament) respectively in face-off win percentage.
Craig Peacock with 2 Goals is tied for 1st in that category.
Ben O’Connor and Colin Shields both have 2 assists.
The final game for Team GB is against Kazakhstan on Sunday, with puck drop at 11.00am GMT.
Kazakhstan narrowly lost to Latvia 3-2 on Friday. Fighting back from 0-2 to tie the game before going on to lose.
Kazakhstan have boxed above their weight in this tournament, beating France in their first game and will be a tough opposition for GB. Their entire roster plays in the KHL and the majority for Barys Astana .
A few players to note.
Alexei Litvinenko was drafted in 1999, round 9 #262 overall by Phoenix Coyotes. The 32yr old Defenseman is currently with Barys Astana and having his best season points with 15(6goals) in 48 games.
Konstantin Pushkaryov is a 27yr old winger with Barys Astana. He was a 2003 round 2 #44 overall pick by Los Angeles Kings and played 17 games in the NHL, scoring 5 points. His record in the AHL was decent with 119 points in 234 outings.
Perhaps their best known player is Defenseman Kevin Dallman who was born in Ontario, Canada.
Undrafted, he had a good OHL career, racking up nigh on a point per game in 268 appearances, and captained Guelph Storm in his last junior season.
Went on to play 154 NHL games combined for the Boston Bruins, St. Louis Blues and Los Angeles Kings. He was with Barys Astana for 4 seasons and was captain for all of those.
The 31 yr old is now with SKA Petersburg and has 35 points in 49 games.
Current Barys Astana Captain is 34yr old Dmitri Upper.
The Centreman was a 2000 round 5 #136 overall pick by New York Islanders
Has 11 goals and 20 points in 47 games this season. In this tournament he has a goal and an assist.
With Team GB now without a chance of qualifying I expect a change or two in the line-up and I believe young goaltender Ben Bowns may play his first senior international.
Ben has come through the GB ranks
In the 2010/2011 season he represented GB in WJC-U20 D1.
In 5 games he registered a 2.00GAA and .952SV%
Having his first season in the Elite League, he’s made 41 starts for Hull Stingrays with a 12-21-8 record,
3.58GAA and .898SV%
Let’s hope Team GB can leave Latvia with a win and give those loyal fans who made the trip out there something to really celebrate.