GB U20 set up silver medal chance

Great Britain U20 side will win a medal at the IIHF World Championship closing ceremony on Friday – but they must wait to see if it’s silver or bronze.

Another come-from-behind win – this time over Ukraine by 3-2 – guaranteed Tom Watkins’ men a place in the top three in Division 1B.

Poland’s win against Slovenia took away the chance of a gold, however it will be silver unless France beat Poland by four goals or more in Friday’s final match.

Ben Churchfield got the start in net after his 37 saves against France and all 22 players took to the ice despite several bumps and bruises keeping physio Gabby McGraw busy behind the scenes.

The early exchanges were fairly even before Ukraine went on the powerplay for the first time, which saw Olexi Vorona open the scoring after 14 minutes.

GB had to kill another penalty later in the session, but the interval came with just the one goal on the scoreboard.

Another powerplay midway through the second period gave Britain the chance to level.

A Connor Glossop effort from the face-off circle appeared to hit goalie Bogdan Dyachenko on the facemask, but play wasn’t stopped and the loose puck was hit home by Michael Stratford for the game tying goal at 34.40.

Great Britain scored the goal of the game early in period three to take the lead. Harvey Stead and Callum Buglass played the puck out of defence to set Duncan Speirs loose on the right wing.

Speirs skated in and lifted a wrist shot high into the net for his first goal in GB colours and a 2-1 lead at 43.15.

With just over ten minutes to play, the lead was stretched to 3-1. Macaulay Heywood gained the zone and let a shot go from inside the blue line – Dyachenko didn’t get his glove up in time and the puck went in off the crossbar.

Any hopes GB could safely play out time were dashed by a second Ukraine powerplay goal five minutes from time.

Ivan Radetsky was on the spot to poke the puck in after Ben Churchfield made a save. Harvey Stead was called for holding with 2.14 to play and – after a timeout – Ukraine pulled the goalie for a six on four finale.

The Brits defended desperately, but ultimately successfully, to secure a third win of the week and guarantee a medal.

GB stayed to watch the evening game and saw Poland take any hopes of gold with a 3-0 win against Slovenia.

With one day of games remaining on Friday, the standings are: 1. Poland 8pts, 2. GB 8pts, 3. France 5pts, 4. Ukraine 2pts, 5. Slovenia 1pt.

Friday’s games are Slovenia v Ukraine (2.30pm UK time) and France v Poland (6.00pm).

(Image permission: Duncan Speirs)

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