Hand adamant Britain will learn from Kazakhstan defeat

10 February 2013 / 14:41

Head coach Tony Hand is adamant Great Britain’s ice hockey team will learn from their outing at the final Olympic qualifying tournament after they lost their third and final game to Kazakhstan.

Hand’s troops were bidding to reach the Winter Games for the first time since St Moritz 1948 in Riga after winning the pre-Olympic qualifying tournament in Japan back in November.

However, as the lowest ranked side in a four-team group with hosts Latvia, France and Kazakhstan and only the winner reaching Sochi 2014, Hand new the size of the task to do so.

They battled valiantly in their opening 6-2 defeat by Lativa and almost produced a stunning fightback against France before losing 4-2 while against Kazakhstan they fell 6-0.

However Hand has no doubt that the British team will see the benefits of competing in the tournament when it comes to the Division I Group A World Championships in Hungary in April.

“This has been a big learning curve for the players. We probably took too many penalties and that hurt us,” said Hand. “We kept it at a 0-0 final period and we can take heart from that ahead of the World Championship.

“I want to say how much the team appreciated the support. Even though we were down they [the fans] supported us throughout.”

Roman Starchenko gave Kazakhstan the lead after 30 seconds, cutting inside from the right before firing low past Ben Bowns, who was making his senior international debut.

Konstantin Romanov made it 2-0 in the third minute when found space in the slot however Britain responded with Robert Farmer and Jonathan Phillips both going close in quick succession.

Five minutes into the second period Talgat Zhailauov finished a precise passing move for Kazakhstan’s third with Britain down to three after Phillips and Rod Sarich were penalised.

Alexei Litvinenko added a fourth moments later before Ilya Solarev broke after a Craig Peacock chance to complete a free-flowing move and make it 5-0.

Viktor Alexandrov scored a shorthanded goal with less than three minutes of the second period remaining for Kazakhstan’s sixth with Britain denying them in the third and final 20 minutes.

© Sportsbeat 2013