Team GB v Japan
Same old, same old for Team GB as they were made to pay the price for another poor and ill disciplined performance despite another encouraging first 20 minutes.
Drawing the first penalty of the game, but then giving up the advantage 3 seconds late, Hashimito would make them pay with a wrist shot past the screen Murphy during 4 on 4 hockey.
Japan would present GB with further PP opportunities but their man advantage special teams were becoming predictable and Japan shut them down comfortably.
After getting out-shot 8-5 in the 1st period, Japan started the 2nd like a house on fire.
GB would get some respite with more power play opportunities but on a turnover they presented Ueno with a breakaway and he made no mistake to make it 0-2.
Japan had found their rhythm and were passing the puck around GB with ease, Osawa the beneficiary of a nice move and he finished well on the backhand.
GB would finally tally after good work from Farmer in keeping the puck cycle going, he would tip in a shot from the point from Richardson to give GB hope.
It was a forlorn hope as GB pushed and Japan with another tic-tac-toe passing movement making the static GB defence look silly. Kuji put the finishing touch to the move for a 1-4 shoreline and make Saturday’s game against Korea a must win in regulation to avoid relegation.
Team GB v Korea
All on the line, leave it all on the ice. I imagine that would have been the mantra in the dressing room before the game. A win in regulation would stave of relegation for Team GB and send Korea down instead.
Not even five minutes in Robert Dowd would give GB the perfect start shortly after a power play opportunity.
Instead of building on this, Team GB would give up three second period goals in the space of 11 minutes. All even strength and each a dagger into the hopes of GB.
GB would start the 3rd period on a power play but again it would be ineffective. Korea however would draw a penalty seconds afterwards and made no mistake on their opportunity with Kisung netting the goal to make it 1-4. Relegation for Team GB to Division 1B
GB would ring the iron 4-5 times but it’s too late for hard luck stories.
An inability to score (just 4 goals) has been the downfall throughout this tournament and the lack of discipline has reared it’s ugly head once too often.
Since the mid-point of the Italy game GB have not been good enough in this tournament. The early encouragement garnered from spirited displays against Hungary and Kazakhstan has long since dissipated.
I don’t follow the game closely enough to lay the blame at these players and coaches. As in every sport the National team needs a solid base, with a good structure, youth system and of course proper funding.
Perhaps the relegation will focus minds in getting the set-up right for future success, only time will tell.