Victory for GB U18 keeps medal hopes alive

Great Britain U18 made it two wins from three games in Brasov as they defeated Netherlands 5-2 this afternoon.

Jordan Lawday made a second straight start in goal for Martin Grubb’s side, who were made to fight for the win against the Dutch who now face a relegation battle with Croatia on Sunday.

Sam Duggan (above) gave GB the lead after seven minutes, but Tobie Tjin-A-Ton’s 14th minute effort ensured the teams went in level at the first break.

Cole Shudra and Liam Kirk hit penalty trouble midway through the second period, but GB stood firm.

With just over two minutes to go before the second buzzer, Bradley Betteridge zipped a one-timer past Tom Barendregt in the Dutch net to put GB 2-1 ahead.

GB continued to have the better of possession and chances in the final session, and they were rewarded in the 47th minute when Kyle Smith fired home to make it 3-1.

Duggan extended the lead further with under four minutes to go, but Jonne de Bonth made it 4-2 with just over a minute left.

GB’s Adam Finlinson rounded off the scoring with an empty-netter for GB six seconds from time to seal a 5-2 victory.

Despite Netherlands losing their first two games, Grubb says he expected a difficult game. He also praised Duggan’s leadership qualities.

“We said Netherlands would be fighting for their lives and so it proved,” he said. “In the past, GB teams have found the Dutch a tough opponent and we knew it would be a battle.

“We didn’t play our best today but credit the players they showed character to dig in and get the three points where in previous years we may have lost that game.

“I thought Sam was outstanding tonight, he was a true leader. Blocking shots, back-checking hard and coming up with two big goals for the team.

“Sam cares – we know he’s playing at a higher level in Sweden, but he just loves playing for his country.”

GB now face Poland on Friday afternoon (3.00pm UK time) in their fourth of five games.

“They look pretty slick,” added Grubb. “They have speed, size and skill for sure. We’ll scout the Romania-Poland game tonight to see them both in a game situation – our next two opponents.

“I think Poland’s style will suit our game so we have to be ready to go again, with the same mantra of taking one shift, one period, one game at a time and see where it takes us.”

(Image permission: Benedikt Kubatzk)

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