Phillips: GB paid Italy ‘too much respect’

Captain Jonathan Phillips believes Great Britain showed Italy a ‘little too much respect’ in their 6-2 defeat on the final day of the Olympic pre-qualifiers in Cortina.

Italy now move onto the final qualifiers in Norway as they look to secure a place at the 2018 Winter Olympics.

The game was littered with stoppages and GB took 11 minor penalties during the 60 minutes.

Phillips said: “We lost focus a bit with the penalties. I think there were a few which were unfair on us but, at the end of the day, I think we could’ve refocused a bit better.

“I think we gave them just a little too much respect in the first period. With our energy and the way we skate, we could’ve gone at them a little bit.

“We were a bit hesitant in that first period. Three goals down we just couldn’t get it back.”

From 4-0 down, goals by Ashley Tait and David Clarke gave Pete Russell’s side some hope, but Italy scored two more to extinguish GB’s hopes.

Phillips continued: “When we got the pucks in deep with our little soft chips, I think we got two guys going.

“We got our forecheck going strong but to be honest, we were in the penalty box too much.”

Despite their penalty troubles, defenseman Steve Lee thinks GB can use the tournament as a springboard for success at April’s World Championship competition in Zagreb.

GB will return to action with international challenge matches against Poland in Nottingham and Coventry, before embarking on their Division 1B campaign in mid-April.

“We were here for a week and it is definitely good preparation,” said Lee. “It is getting used to playing with each other and that is very important.

“It will benefit us when the World Championships do come around.”

(Image permission: IceHockeyMedia)

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