Grubb delighted with GB U18 warm-up

Great Britain U18 faced a tough test from a Coventry Blaze NIHL Select side in a World Championship warm-up game at the Skydome on Tuesday.

With Division 2A in Romania just two months away, Head Coach Martin Grubb was keen the team got a good workout from a Blaze side that included a wealth of Elite League experience.

GB outshot Blaze 14-5 in the first period and both sides had good chances to open the scoring.

Blaze netmimder Renny Marr, guesting from the EIHL Blaze, had to be at his best to stop Cole Shudra, while Harry Gulliver slid an excellent chance just wide.

Jordan Lawday in the GB goal also had to be alert to chances from Connor Keyes and Matt Maurice, but it was Blaze who opened the scoring in the 16th minute as Ross Venus fed Brenden Walker in front, who beat Lawday for what was to be the only goal of the first period.

Blaze nearly doubled their advantage early in the second session, but Walker was denied by Lawday.

GB came close to equalising soon after as Bradley Betteridge had two chances in front, but Marr was equal to both.

The Blaze netminder had to be at his best again later in the period to deny Jordan Kelsall and Mac Howlett in quick succession.

A GB netminder change midway through the period saw Lawday replaced by Kyle Johnston and just over a minute later GB equalised, with Finlay Ulrick sliding the puck across Marr from an angle.

Ulrick had a great chance to give GB the lead after 37 minutes, but Marr pulled off an excellent point-blank save.

Graham Laverick replaced Marr in goal for the Blaze at the start of the final period and it was Blaze who took the lead just a minute later through Ross Venus.

The home side would have gone further ahead after 45 minutes, had Johnston not made an excellent save from Phillip Mulcahy right in front.

Coventry were to rue the missed chance as Edward Knaggs equalised with a wrist shot into the corner, but they regained the lead with 10 minutes left through Daniel Thompson.

GB quickly levelled through Tom Stubley, before Adam Finlinson put them ahead for the first time on the night, scoring the first of his two goals in the 54th minute with a superb coast-to-coast effort.

Nineteen seconds later it was 5-3 through Kyle Smith, before Finlinson rounded off the scoring with just over a minute to go for a 6-3 final scoreline.

Grubb said: “I thought Renny Marr was outstanding for them in the first two periods. We wanted a worthwhile game rather than coming and turning a team over.

“We’re delighted with the way it went. We know we’ve got some more work to do but the game was thoroughly entertaining and the boys have done really well.”

(Image permission: Scott Wiggins)

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