ROBERT DOWD hailed Great Britain’s “excellent” performance after a 4-1 win over Romania revived their World Championship campaign in Vilnius.
Almost two years to the day since they last tasted success in the event – a 5-4 win over Hungary staving off relegation from the second tier – Doug Christiansen’s team bounced back in convincing style from an opening defeat to Croatia 24 hours earlier
As in Sunday’s 4-0 loss, GB dominated offensively, outshooting their opponents this time by 47-26. The main difference was that they were able to find the back of the net.
It proved far from easy, though, against an obdurate Romanian side, whose defence was not breached until after the halfway mark – a well-worked goal on the powerplay at 32.45 seeing David Clarke and Robert Lachowicz combining to set up Ben Davies. A second followed less than two minutes later when Sheffield Steelers’ winger and GB captain Jonathan Phillips poked home when driving to the net.
Colin Shields became GB’s joint-fifth all-time leading goalscorer when he pounced on a loose puck on the powerplay to make it 3-0 at 45.47.
Hull Stingrays’ Ben Bowns had been given the start in goal ahead of Stephen Murphy and had enjoyed a fairly quiet afternoon, although he saw his shutout hopes ended when Otto Biro pouncedat 59.16.
But Garside ensured his team finished on a high ahead of tomorrow night’s encounter with hosts Lithuania when he restored GB’s three-goal lead 18 seconds later.
It was a first tournament victory for GB since November 2012, ending a run of nine defeats since a 2-1 victory against Japan in pre-Olympic qualification earning them a place in final qualifying in Latvia last year.
“It has been a while since we last won and last got to hear the national anthem played, so this was very special,” said Steelers’ forward Dowd. “Once we scored, you could see the confidence flow from the guys. This is a massive win for us and brings us right back into contention in the tournament. It really was an excellent performance.”