Five things to watch: GB vs Sweden

Matthew Myers in action for Team GB. (PHOTO: Dean Woolley)

We’re at game five of the World Championships and GB are already two points better off this time than they were in Slovakia two years ago.

Sweden are the opponents and the ‘Tre Kronor’ have quite the pedigree in international hockey.  After all, you’re talking about a team with nine Olympic medals (two gold, three silver and four bronze), plus recent success in the World Championships, winning the competition as recently as 2018.

But what should we be looking out for today from both teams in what could be a massive game for both nations?

1. Another centurion in Myers

After Jonathan Phillips picked up his 100th cap for Great Britain in the game against Denmark on Tuesday, here comes Matthew Myers to reach that significant milestone as he becomes the fourth player to get there.

Only Phillips, David Longstaff and Ashley Tait have got there before him so if he can put in the same level of performance we saw against Belarus on Wednesday, it could be a special day for him.

Well done, Matthew!

Can Corey Neilson and Adam Keefe inspire GB to another famous victory? (PHOTO: Dean Woolley)

2. Liam Kirk – Danger man

Liam Kirk’s reputation is definitely growing and with four goals on the board in this competition so far, the Swedes will have noticed him in the build up to this game.

The Arizona Coyotes draft has definitely impressed at this stage and his goal tally puts him at the top of the scoring charts, sharing that spot on the podium with four other players.

This will be a real test of what Kirk can do on the world stage so GB fans will certainly hope he can keep this hot streak going.

3. We don’t know what Sweden will turn up

Sweden are currently bottom of Group A with only one win in four and have struggled to find their form in Latvia.

When they smashed seven past Switzerland on Tuesday, you started to think the Swedes had finally arrived, but then Thursday’s game with Czech Republic saw them go 2-0 up after the first period, but lose the game 4-2.

Co-coaches Keefe and Neilson will need to prepare for both occurrences as a streaky Sweden need a win here to help their quarter final hopes.

Brett Perlini has starred for GB, but needs more points on the board (PHOTO: Dean Woolley)

4. A fresher GB?

GB could come into the game much fresher than their opponents, not only because they had the rest day on Thursday and Sweden played, but in terms of minutes played, Britain’s players have played less on average.

GB have only three players who have crossed the 15-minute threshold on average in their four games so far – Brett Perlini, Mark Richardson and Ben O’Connor.

By comparison, Sweden have two players who have blitzed over an average of 20 minutes per game and a further 11 who have played between 15 and 19 minutes.  Could be one to watch.

5. Perlini’s time is coming

We absolutely love the job Brett Perlini has been doing for GB and it’s almost criminal that he has only a point to show for his four appearances so far.

Perlini is a constant pest for defencemen and does great work in and around the crease, so could this be a day where he can bag himself a couple of goals and really make his mark on this competition?  Let’s hope so.


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