GB sucker punched in opening game in Poland

GB Women's coach Cheryl Smith has seen her tournament cancelled (PHOTO: Ice Hockey UK)

Great Britain U18 Women’s coach Cheryl Smith saw positives from her team’s opening World Championship game – but couldn’t hide her disappointing at losing 3-2 in China in overtime.

GB threw away a two-goal lead to concede in overtime and end the day on a low note in their Division 1 Group B campaign in Katowice, Poland.

And Smith summed up her feelings from what turned into a frustrating day.

“This is such a disappointing result as we were in control after two periods,” she said. “China’s first goal set in some panic and we let the game get away from us after that.

“There were plenty of positive things out there this afternoon, so we have to take that forward for the rest of the tournament. 

“Everyone in the dressing room is frustrated but we know we can do better and the girls will come back stronger.” 

GB went ahead just past the midway point of the first session as a well-worked powerplay saw Emily Harris score on her backhand at the far post after 10 minutes.

(PHOTO: Courtesy of Ice Hockey UK)

Harris netted her second early in the middle period when she cut inside from the right to fire past Han Yiyang to give GB a two-goal advantage, with Chloe Headland picking up her second assist of the game.

GB had a number of powerplay opportunities in the second period – including two stints of five-on-three – but were unable to add to their tally.

China closed the gap 49 seconds into the third session when Zhu Junfei scored from close range, while Zeng Youyou converted Li Qianhua’s pass from behind the net to equalise five minutes into the third.

Smith’s team killed off two successive penalties midway through the third period with netminder Ella Howard making a number of important stops, including a point-blank save to deny Liu Xin.

GB had a minute’s powerplay going into overtime and came close to scoring twice, but China won the game at 63:46 when Qu Yue reacted first to a loose puck after a goalmouth scramble.

The Brits are back in action tomorrow when they face Korea U18 Women with a 1pm face-off (12noon UK time).

In the day’s other games, Austria shutout Korea with a 4-0 success, while hosts Poland were edged out 1-0 by Norway in the final game of the opening day.

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