GB ready for big Italian job

David Clarke and Jonathan Phillips say the Great Britain team is fully prepared for their final-day clash with hosts Italy in the Olympic pre-qualifiers in Cortina.

GB have beaten Netherlands and Serbia for two wins from two and know that victory against the Italians will secure their passage to the final qualifying stage for the 2018 Winter Olympics.

The Nottingham Panthers forward scored two powerplay goals in GB’s 6-2 win over Serbia on Saturday to take his international tally to 26 goals.

Clarke said: “We are in the right frame of mind and fully focused for the game against Italy.

“We have worked hard to get us into the position we are in now. We have come through some difficult patches in both games, but will be stronger for it.

“Serbia did very well and gave us a tough game on Saturday, but we had the strength to come through.

“We have a great spirit between all the players and that can help in down times.

“Many of us experienced the final qualifiers for an Olympics four years ago and we want to do that again.

Phillips believes GB have shown a ‘resilient’ streak in their two games so far and the team captain thinks they will need to show that in abundance against the host nation.

“We might not be playing our best hockey but we are getting the job done,” said Phillips.

“I’m very proud of the way we have dug in so far and found a way to win both matches. Neither Netherlands or Serbia gave us an easy time and we had to work hard for the victories.

“Scoring 12 goals in two games is a good sign going into a game against a higher-ranked nation.

“We have the confidence in front of goal at the moment and scoring is being shared around.

“It is going to be a real battle against Italy, but we cannot wait to get back on the ice. We have put ourselves in a good position and we now need to deliver one more win.”

Sunday’s game faces-off at 7.45pm UK time and is live on Premier Sports and BBC Radio Five Live sports extra.

(Image permission: IceHockeyMedia)

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