GB beat Serbia to set up Italy showdown

Great Britain beat Serbia 6-2 to set up a chance of going through to the final qualifying stage for the 2018 Winter Olympics.

GB outshot Serbia 52-16 as Head Coach Pete Russell gave the starting netminder berth to Stevie Lyle for his 76th cap.

Colin Shields became GB’s second all-time leading goalscorer when he netted his 33rd international goal, passing Kevin Conway.

The Belfast Giants’ forward stepped in from the left and fired past Arsenije Rankovic after four minutes.

Serbia grabbed a surprise equaliser as a giveaway in the GB defence saw Nenad Rakovic pounce on the puck and fire low past Lyle in the eighth minute.

Matty Davies scored his first GB goal with a neat finish from the slot three minutes later as GB opened up a 2-1 first period lead.

GB hit penalty trouble early in the second period and Uros Bjelogrlic levelled the game at two from the side of the net after 25 minutes.

Jonathan Boxill touched in his first GB goal as he deflected a shot from David Phillips past Rankovic midway through the session.

David Clarke made it 4-2 with a finish from the right circle with a two-man advantage after 35 minutes after Steve Lee had hit the post.

Clarke then fired in his 26th GB career goal as he coverted a pass from Craig Peacock on the powerplay in the 54th minute, while Robert Lachowicz’s stunning toe drag and low shot rounded off the scoring with 23 seconds left.

Russell commented: “One of the best things about today is we scored six goals again. We have got a lot of guys scoring at the moment and that is really good for us.

“I’m pleased with the outcome, although at times I did not feel we got pucks to the net. I’m really excited about tomorrow. We came here to be in this position and I’m really looking forward to Italy.”

GB face-off against Italy on Sunday at 7.45pm UK time. The game is live on Premier Sports.

(Image permission: IceHockeyMedia)

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