GB U18 ready for Netherlands test

The Olympic Rink in Brasov, Romania, will host Great Britain’s third game of the week today against the Netherlands (face-off 11.30am UK time).

Martin Grubb’s side are 1-1 from their opening two matches – a 5-2 defeat by Lithuania, before Tuesday’s 7-1 win over Croatia.

By contrast the Dutch have lost their two opening games – 8-1 to Romania and 10-1 against Poland.

On Wednesday GB skated in the morning, before having an afternoon of rest and recovery ahead of the game.

Grubb said: “The Netherlands have lost their two matches but we aren’t taking them lightly – if anything they could be more dangerous as they want to show some pride and are fighting for their lives in the group.

“We will have to come with the same intensity as we showed against Croatia and play for the full sixty minutes. We take it one game at a time, we do what we have to do against the Netherlands before we look any further.

“In the past these games have been tough as Netherlands play a similar style of hockey to us in Britain. The players will have to stick to the systems and execute as we did on Tuesday.”

Line-mates Liam Kirk and Cole Shudra have been in good form so far – Kirk scoring twice, while Shudra has a goal and assists.

The duo signed apprenticeship contracts with Elite League champions Sheffield Steelers before leaving for Romania, and have played at every level from U18, NIHL and EPL this season in the Sheffield system.

Kirk said: “We’ve played together since U10 and gone on since then, so we know each other’s game pretty well.

“There’s always a little argument over who plays centre as we both can play there. But we sort it out and get on with the games.”

“The loss in the first game was disappointing but we bounced back as a team, sorted out things in practice and didn’t go looking for goals. We just played hockey and the goals came – that’s how it should be.”

Shudra added: We want to finish in the best place we can in the table. With Lithuania losing (against Romania) that puts it back in our hands – knowing what we need to do to possibly get a gold.”

“There’s been a lot of support helping me get to the next level where I want to be. I want to play at the highest level I can so any ice time I get is good ice time.

“With the Steelers of course it has to fit around our education first, but if we want to progress then we have to put the effort in.”

(Image permission: Benedikt Kubatzki)

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