Kirk: We will “give it our all”

Great Britain U20 forward Liam Kirk says the team are desperate to turn things around when they face Poland in their third World Championship (Division 1B) game on Wednesday.

Defeats against Slovenia and hosts Hungary in the opening two matches have given GB a mountain to climb if they’re to salvage anything from the six-team tournament.

Kirk has one goal and two assists from those games to lead GB in scoring, and the 16-year-old is enjoying the step up from U18 to U20 level.

“It’s a lot faster, the players are smarter and more physical – that’s something you have to be aware of and not let it affect your game,” Kirk said.

“Our team are starting to click and the results so far haven’t been what we want. We’re working hard and we’ll look to pull it round starting with Poland.

“After the Hungary game everyone said ‘this is it’ – there are three games left and we’re going to give it our all.”

Arguably the busiest player so far has been netminder Renny Marr, facing 82 shots in his two games to date.

Marr and Denis Bell are the two goalies in Budapest and they have specialist coach Nathan Craze on hand to give them training and support.

“Playing the games in such a short period of time can be quite physical, so it’s important to manage your rest, fluids and food to keep in the best shape for the week,” said Marr.

“Denis and I have been in the GB programme since we were 14-15 years old – we’re really good friends and we always room together when we are away.

“Working with Crazey – he’s been at Coventry a couple of times too – using his experience really helps, particularly with getting your head in the game.”

GB collected a point from their overtime defeat against Slovenia on Sunday, but found hosts Hungary in clinical mood the following day with three goals in 61 seconds during the first period providing the platform for a 5-1 success for the hosts.

Despite the results, Assistant Coach Slava Koulikov insists GB will battle for every point they can in their remaining games against Poland, Italy and Ukraine.

“We played well for the second part of the Hungary game but were very average in the first period – Hungary will be up there challenging for gold I’m sure,” said Koulikov.

“We have to learn from that and make sure we don’t make the same mistakes again and look to get something from the Poland game.

“You want to win every game you play. If you lose then there’s another game the next day and both sides are at 0-0. There are nine points left this week and we are fighting for every point that’s for sure.”

Please click here to watch coverage of the game (face-off 7.00pm UK time).

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