Ice hockey history on the line for Great Britain
Ice Hockey

Ice hockey history on the line for Great Britain

28 April 2018 / 09:00

All week head coach Pete Russell has dared his British team to dream - now just one more game stands between them and triumphant World Championship reality.

Not since 1994 has the Great Britain men’s side been in ice hockey’s elite tier but with one historic win already under their belts, there’s every chance that unwanted run will draw to an end on Saturday.

Victory over tournament second seeds Italy in their penultimate outing means only Hungary can derail Russell and his side, knowing a point will be enough to make the emphatic return.

World Championship gold is therefore in their reach – not bad for the side seeded sixth and lowest in Division 1 Group A.

“I have said this week ‘dare to dream’ and I will say it again,” said Russell.

“This was something else. The performance they put in tonight was out of this world.

“We had amazing backing from our wonderful supporters and everyone came together on another great night.

“The boys dug deep, they found a way and now know they can create some history, but we have to continue in the same manner we have all tournament.”

If believe wasn’t there before, a 4-3 victory over Italy has certainly now provided it in spades.

It was far from a unique performance either, Brett Perlini taking his tournament tally to four goals with a double, opening the scoring with a calm, slotted finish.

Italy hit back through Alex Lambacher but a frantic period of three goals in 66 seconds saw Britain back in front when Robert Dowd fired home from Brendan Brooks.

But the Italians, one of the pre-tournament favourites, responded again thanks to a turnover with Thomas Larkin the main profiteer as he levelled at 2-2.

Yet this British team don’t give up and when Ben O’Connor and Giulio Scandella traded goals, it was left to tournament top goal-scorer Perlini to finish superbly to give his side a famous win. Now Hungary await.

“We have such a close-knit group and we all enjoy each others’ company,” said defenceman Mark Richardson.

“We have a special bond and that helps for sure in down times.

“Everyone has had to dig deep this week and pull out results against some of the best nations in the world.

“This is a special roster we have here and it is exciting to think what the prize is at the end of it all.

“This is a huge moment for our nation and we are very excited.

“This has been a fantastic week and to be competing at this level and beating quality teams has been amazing.”

Photo credit: Dean Woolley

Sportsbeat 2018