Davies: My early miss would have haunted me

Ben Davies feared his missed chance in the opening minute could have haunted him (PHOTO: Dean Woolley)

A year ago, Ben Davies wrote his name into GB ice hockey folklore with the overtime winner to down France and preserve Britain’s place in the top group at the World Championship.  But it could have been very different.

We’ve all watched over and over the big moment when captain Jonathan Phillips sped down the left, fought off the desperate French players to play in Davies, who tucked it away.

But he admits the chance he blew in the opening minute would have haunted him if GB has gone on to lose the decisive game.

“I don’t know what that was,” he said, speaking to The BIH Show. “I remember back to my warm up and preparing the same way and a few things were going differently, like I had new socks.

“I had the starting shift and I was getting into the game.  That breakaway fell to me and having watched it back a few times, I try to forget about it now.

“At the time, I was frustrated and I had a lot of negative emotions and given the importance of it, I didn’t want it to come back to that and that be a massive regret.

‘When France got it two then three-nil, I was starting to think about how costly a chance it was.  At the end, it didn’t matter, which was the best case scenario.

“I got a bad read on the play, but luckily it didn’t matter.  I actually remember thinking I was going to move in on goal and take a quick shot, but when I got to the top of the circles, I had a bizarre urge to play a drop pass.

LISTEN NOW: Ben Davies – Hero of Kosice

“I thought Ben Lake was behind me.  It was a split decision and I couldn’t believe what I’d done.”

Of course, as Ben says, it doesn’t matter now as everyone remembers the comeback from 3-0 down to take the game in overtime.

And the Guildford Flames forward revealed what happened immediately before he achieved hero status with his huge goal.

He added: “I wasn’t really expecting to be on the play, but when Pete said to Jono and I to go, I was thinking I could use my speed and Jono was maybe thinking the same.

“We both went, hoping to use that to our advantage so Jono and I spoke and he told me to knock it forward from the face off.

“The D-men lined up on the board side, which seemed strange to me, but I manage to get it, moved it forward to Jono, who did brilliantly in the corner.

“At this point, I’m trying to catch up with the play and see if there’s anything I can do and he made a great play.

“Luckily, I’ve got there first, realised my position that I’m through on the goalie and take it to my backhand.  I got a good enough connection on it and tried to miss the post and chaos happens.”

A year on, Davies admits he’s watched it back a good number of times and admits there was a lot of nerves around the team going into the game.

HIGHLIGHTS: How GB stayed up

But he’s proud to be part of such a memorable campaign and while he’s disappointed they didn’t get the second crack at the top level in Switzerland this year, he says the team are looking ahead to going to Minsk next year.

Davies said: “It’s been a whirlwind over the last year, but I’ve watched it a fair few times since.  When it’s going on, there’s so many other things going on so it was nice to go back and see moments like that.

“I know a lot of the other lads I’ve spoken to have watched it back as well and it gives us fond memories of what turned into an amazing experience for us.

“Going into the game, we knew after the Denmark game that, if results went the way they did, it would come down to France so we did everything we could to make sure we were ready for it.

“There was an awful lot of nerves as the stakes were as high as they were ever going to be, coming down to that one game.

“We realised straight away the magnitude of what we’d done and after it, we spent a few more days in Kosice and celebrated with team-mates.

“I still get a thrill watching it and a lot of the highlights from the tournament.  They’re lasting memories and an unreal trip for everyone.

“We were excited to go back this year and experience it again, but unfortunately, it wasn’t to be in Switzerland, but it’s something we’re looking forward to doing again.”

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