Grubb’s delight as GB sink hosts

(PHOTO: Courtesy of Ice Hockey UK)

Great Britain Men’s Under-20s coach Martin Grubb was delighted with his team’s response from their first game as they secured a big 6-3 win over hosts Lithuania.

The opening game against Japan left the team disappointed, but they reacted in the best possible way to claim their first points of the Division II Group A campaign.

And it left coach Grubb satisfied as his team bounced back in impressive fashion to put them third in the standings going into the tomorrow’s rest day.

“We knew the importance of the game and we were determined to get off to a good start and put Lithuania under pressure early,” Grubb said.

“We got a great start and the early goal settled us and allowed us to set the tempo.

“We asked the players to keep out-working them in the second and stay disciplined. We did a good job with that and that allowed us to get the powerplay working and get into a nice lead. 

“It was important we didn’t switch off in the third and kept doing the little things right and get the result we deserved.

“The boys deserve tremendous praise for their response tonight and the way they played. It’s nice to get our first points on the board in the tournament.”

HIGHLIGHTS: Lithuania Men’s Under 20s 3 Great Britain Men’s Under 20s 6

GB led by two before the six-minute mark as Austin Mitchell-King netted at the backdoor from Patrick Larkin’s pass after two minutes.

Then the captain, Tyler Cooper scored on the powerplay in the slot after a well-worked move to double the lead.

Martynas Grinius pounced on the rebound to close the gap at almost the 15-minute mark before two goals in 70 seconds in the second period put GB firmly in the box seat.

Lithuania netminder Laurynas Lubys gave the puck straight to Larkin fresh out the box and he made it 3-1 at 23:56, while Joe Hazeldine’s shot from the left wing sneaked in not long after.

Nikita Kuzminov replaced Lubys in the Lithuania goal but he was soon picking the puck out of the net when Alex Graham scored from close range on the powerplay with five to go in the second.

Grinius scored his second of the night for the hosts after he had room in front of the net and despatched the finish.

But Mitchell-King grabbed his second after a goalmouth scramble, while Timonas Mazulis’ rebound on the powerplay 47 seconds later was merely a consolation for Lithuania.

GB next play on Thursday when they face Romania Under-20s at 3:30pm (1:30pm UK time). 

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