Great Britain 1 Slovakia 2
A virtuoso display from Ben Bowns was the highlight, but Great Britain were edged out as Slovakia took a 2-1 result in game two of the World Championships.
They recovered from the loss of an early goal to cause problems for the Slovakians and when you consider the Brits were on the wrong end of a 7-1 loss to the same opponents two years ago, it was quite the improvement in display.
Let’s be under no illusion. Slovakia were well ahead when it came to shots on goal, but Britain worked them and worked them all the way to the end, something again the coaching staff can take enormous heart from.
The game had barely started when GB had conceded as Marek Hrivik swept his chance from the slot after taking the pass from Robert Lantosi.
There were fears of an early goal blitz, similar to what happened against Russia, but Britain, unlike the nation’s performance at the Eurovision Song Contest, were starting find their rhythm.
Kristian Pospisil was blocked by Bowns as the Slovakians looked to build on the early lead, however they found a GB team determined not to give anything up.
— British Ice Hockey 🏒 (@BritIceHockey) May 23, 2021
An injury issue with Branislav Konrad in the Slovakians net meant he had to be replaced by Julius Hudacek for the second period and GB were quick to pounce.
A shot from Brett Perlini forced a decent low save by Slovakia’s new man between the pipes, but he wasn’t quick enough to get to Liam Kirk’s rebound, with the NHL prospect duly burying it to equalise.
The lead only lasted a couple of minutes when Slovakia claimed the puck from the board and moved forward, with Lantosi lasering a shot into the roof of the net over Bowns’ shoulder.
Matthew Myers was denied shortly after by Hudacek, after Kirk picked him out with a pass from behind the red line.
But Slovakia tried to turn up the heat as the period went on, with Bowns finding his form more and more as the middle frame went on, denying Slafkovsky and Lantosi in the final minutes of what turned out to be a busy session for him.
The game was still in the balance going into the final period and despite the huge disparity in the number of shots on goal, GB were very much still in the game.
They were unlucky not to get another leveller when Kirk executed a good move to create some space, tried a shot backhanded, but Hudacek stopped.
It broke loose for Connolly, who tried to stab it in from close range, but found the Slovakian D-man in his way.
Bowns then denied Studenic twice in quick succession – one with the blocker and the other down low, leaving Craig Ramsay’s men wondering how they were going to find a way past GB’s wall.
GB went for it in the final couple of minutes to try and least force overtime, but it wasn’t to be as Slovakia clung on to victory.