Day Three: Smith’s pride as GB take win over top seeds

(PHOTO: Karl Denham)

Great Britain U18 Women’s coach Cheryl Smith couldn’t contain her pride as her team upset the tournament’s top seeds to take a shootout victory over Norway.

Ella Howard in the nets produced arguably the performance of her career to keep the Norwegians at bay with 48 saves, while Chloe Riley was the star of the night with the winning penalty shot.

But Smith praised each and every one of her players on a special night in Dumfries as they finally got a win on the board.

“Words cannot describe how proud I am of the team tonight,’ she beamed post game.

“There were outstanding performances right across the ice and everyone should be so proud of what they achieved.

“I have been saying for a while we have so much talent in this programme and that shone through tonight.

“We killed their game plan and they followed the instructions from the coaches, which was fantastic.

“I am so thrilled with the win but just as important was how they all stuck to the brief.”

Norway had won their previous two games without conceding a goal and while they didn’t again after 65 minutes of play, they were edged out by a gutsy GB team who matched them all the way.

Chloe Headland and Lucy Beal went closest in the first period, but couldn’t find a way through, while Howard batted away 14 Norwegian attempts.

Chloe Riley scores the winning penalty shot that secured a win for GB Women’s U18s in Dumfries (PHOTO: Karl Denham)

Norway continued to pile on the pressure in the second period, but GB had chances too as Headland was denied from close range, while Grace Garbett’s pass set up Jessica Sprules, but she couldn’t convert.

With Howard becoming the sort of wall Donald Trump could only dream of in the GB net, Ellie Wakeling and Verity Lewis went close, but to no avail.

A scoreless overtime followed then a dramatic penalty shootout where both teams couldn’t be separated after five shots each.

In sudden death, Riley scored her second penalty of the shootout and Howard denied Thea Jorgensen, confirming a big victory for GB.

EARLIER IN THE DAY

With Norway slipping, France moved to the top of the group as they began the day’s play with a 4-0 victory over Poland.

After a good start to the competition, the French maintained it as Manon le Scodan opened the scoring in the first period, with Lucie Quarto and Lucie Turcotte adding two more before the second break.

Turcotte’s second in the final period was the icing on the cake as France waited and hoped for Norway to slip up, which they duly did.

The Netherlands found themselves at the bottom of the group as China defeated them 4-1 in their meeting in the second game.

Fu Chunyang and two from Liao Zifei had the Chinese three up without reply although the Dutch hit back through Michelle van Ooijen.

It was a mere consolation as Yuqi Zhang added a fourth, confirming a first win for China as the teams all head into another rest day on Thursday.

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