Shields fully focused on team success

Colin Shields says he’s not interested in personal records this week – only the success of Great Britain on the ice.

The GB forward moved on to 38 international goals against Lithuania on Wednesday, within touching distance of Tony Hand’s all-time record.

GB’s 5-2 victory over Lithuania maintained their unbeaten start to their World Championship (Division 1B) tournament in Belfast and Shields believed it was their best performance so far.

“It came to light last year that I was getting close (to the record) but the biggest thing this week is getting the points for the team and keeping the wins coming – we do that and we set up the gold medal game we want on Saturday,” said Shields.

“I’d say that was our most complete performance – we had bit of lapse in the second, but they stepped it up and brought some pressure which we responded to.

“We had a really good third and shut them down. They played a physical game, but we’re used to that with the style of hockey we play in the league here.

“Everyone played well from Bownsy (Ben Bowns) out to all the forwards and it was good to get the points.”

Defender Ben O’Connor praised his side’s first period performance against Lithuania, saying the four-goal blast won them the game.

“We came out hard in the first period and I think that’s where we killed the game off – we were sloppy in the second and a little patchy in the third, but it was a good first period and that won us the game,” said O’Connor.

“The five-on-three penalty kill was a big moment – our PK is usually very good when we come away to these tournaments and that was a big turning point.”

Great Britain and Japan each have nine points at the top of the standings and are scheduled to meet in the final game of the tournament on Saturday. O’Connor says the team aren’t looking past Netherlands on Friday.

“It is cliched when we say ‘one game at a time’ but it is so very true,” he added.

“If you slip up in a game like that then the gold medal is gone. We will give them the utmost respect and come to play our game and get the job done.”

(Image permission: Dean Woolley)

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