Team GB – Hungary & Kazakhstan

IIHF World Championships

Game 1 v Hungary (2-4)

It doesn’t get much tougher than facing the host nation on the opening night in front of a full building of passionate fans.

Despite being badly out shot, Stephen Murphy kept GB in the game. GB then shocked the hosts by taking the lead.

David Phillips throwing a shot towards the net which somehow find it’s way in past the screened Hungarian goalie.

Hungary would bounce back to even the game early in the second. Nagy making no mistake on the power play.  The pressure from the hosts was constant and just 6 minutes last Marton Vas would put them ahead.

Team GB would respond, drawing a penalty and after great work from Robert Dowd it was Colin Shields would tie the game with a nifty finish in close.

Hungary would again retake the lead, Ladanyi the goal scorer on this occasion. The hosts would then make it 4-2 but the goal was waived off for a kicking motion,  meaning GB would only be down a single tally heading into the third period.

This really galvanised the boys in blue and they outplayed Hungary for long stretches and out shot their opponents in the 3rd.

Clarke would be brilliantly denied before Hungary hit them with a sucker punch.

It was a broken play off a blocked shot and before Murphy could get himself repositioned Sikorcin ripped the puck past him.

There would be no giving up from GB however as they continued to push the hosts. You could send one goal would bring about a storming finish but a combination of not getting the bounce of the puck and some great saves would deny them.

Bright spots for GB were the power play, the effort including laying bodies on the line and the 3rd period in which they really took it to Hungary. You wouldn’t have had a clue which team was the top seed in those last 20 minutes.

Stephen Murphy was excellent in net and gave his team something to build upon.

Phillips 1G

Shields 1G

Meyers 1A

Tait 1A

Dowd 1A

Weaver 1A

Game 2 v Kazakhstan (0-5)

At times there is no hockey in justice.

Team GB outplayed their higher seeded opponents for over 40 minutes of this encounter but an inability to take their chances and getting sucker punched meant a lop sided defeat.

After conceding an early penalty, Team GB would earn three straight themselves putting Kazakhstan under pressure with Phillips having the best opportunity but he was superbly denied.

Then came the sucker punch at the end of the 1st period. Romanov and  Solarev netting a goal each in the space 19 seconds late in the 1st period.

The second 20 minutes would follow a similar pattern. GB would be the better team 5 on 5 and draw four penalties but could not find a way past the impressive Kolesnik.

Clarke having the best chance on the power play from a backdoor set-up but was a fraction away from getting GB back in the game.

GB would take a stack of penalties themselves to finish the period and on a 5 on 3 man advantage Savchenko made no mistake.

There was still a 5 on 4 advantage to start the 3rd and just after that ended, Khazkhstan make it 4-0 to kill the game. They would make it 5-0 with their second power play marker of the game and although it flattered them, they sure did take their chances today.

Murphy did nothing wrong in the game and made some great stops but the story was Kolesnik in net for Kazakhstan who stood on his head making 36 saves for a shutout.

GB played their best match I’ve ever seen in my short time watching them. If they had taken just once of their chances when it mattered it would have been a different game.

They were battered in the face-off circle against Hungary but were far better today.

Ben Davies stood out for the men in blue. He may be small in stature but he hit hard, kept his legs moving and created turnovers.

GB will face Italy on Wednesday. The top seeds have won both of their games thus far and present another tough challenge.

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