GB U18 ready for top seed test in opening game

Great Britain U18 begin their World Championship (Division 2A) on Monday (3.00pm UK time) with a match against top seeds Lithuania.

The GB squad contains only six players from those who won bronze in Estonia last March – defensemen Ben Nethersell, Kyle Smith, Oliver Stone, Edward Knaggs and forwards Sam Duggan and Adam Finlinson.

The Lithuanians were relegated from Division 1B last year, 12 months after winning promotion against Martin Grubb’s team in Dumfries.

Grubb said: “It’s a much changed squad but having four returning defensemen is a huge plus – added to the ‘D’-men we’ve brought in it makes the back end very strong.

“We’ve been working towards this for months with regular training camps, even the couple of days we had in Coventry before we flew out here – it was all part of the preparation.

“Myself and the whole management team are excited by the opportunity we have, and as always proud to represent the country at our sport.

“The players share the pride, some of them are veterans you could say with many tournaments under their belt. Those playing at IIHF level for the first time will be nervous but also excited.

“We have to look on it as an opportunity playing Lithuania first up. It’s their first game too, they arrived a little after us and have had the same practice here in Brasov as us.

“The players know they have to come out hard from the first puck drop.

“It can’t take us till the second period to get into the game – by then it could be too late. We go from minute one to minute sixty.”

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