O’Connor hails GB team spirit

Ben O'Connor scored the winner in Paul Thompson's last game in charge of GB in 2011, a 3-2 win over Poland (PHOTO: Dean Woolley)

Ben O’Connor believes Great Britain’s team spirit could spur them onto success at the upcoming World Championship (Division 1B) tournament in Zagreb.

GB arrive in Croatia on Thursday ahead of Sunday’s first game against the hosts. They will also face Estonia, Lithuania, Romania and Ukraine in the six-team group.

O’Connor said: “There are a whole group of leaders in this side and that’s really good.

“We have a bunch of experienced guys who have seen it all and done it all before.

“But then we have the younger guys coming through and pushing us older guys, which is great as well.

“We have a never-say-die attitude and that has been evident, especially last year in the Netherlands.

“We came from behind against Korea and we came from behind against Croatia, so we have shown that we know how to put up a fight.”

O’Connor pointed to the togetherness of the side as one of the reasons for their ability to win close games.

“We all enjoy each other’s company and we get along off the ice,” added O’Connor.

“There are no little groups of players. We all hang around together and that helps us on the ice.

“We have a strong team spirit and it is great to be around the guys. We have a lot of fun but everyone also is very focused and that is very important.”

Netminder Ben Bowns says winning silver at last year’s World Championship still haunts him.

GB won their first four games in Eindhoven and needed to beat Lithuania in their final match to guarantee gold and promotion.

They lost 2-1 and Bowns is hoping the memory of that defeat will spur the team on this time around.

“We can’t dwell too much on last year, but at least let it burn a little bit and remind ourselves what it felt like in that last game,” said Bowns.

“It was one the worst feelings in my life, but we didn’t get it done so we have to learn from and use it as motivation this time.”

Premier Sports are broadcasting all five of GB’s games live.

(Image permission: IceHockeyMedia)

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