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.
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.
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.
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)