GB settle for silver in Kiev

GREAT Britain came within a whisker of promotion to the elite level of international ice hockey before settling for a deserved silver medal in Kiev.

Going into the final round of games in the Division 1B, Britain were one of three teams capable of taking gold, although pre-tournament favourites Kazakhstan - who beat Paul Thompson’s talented team 2-1 on Monday - held their own destiny in their hands.

This they were able to do when they took their final game against Ukraine into overtime - guaranteeing them the point they needed to edge ahead of GB - before a Fyodor Polishuk goal sealed a fifth straight win to see them eventually finish two points clear.

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GB had earlier done what they needed to when they met Poland in the last round for the third time in three years, a Ben O’Connor power play goal giving them a 3-2 victory.

Goals from Jonathan Weaver - on the power play - and Russ Cowley cancelled out Filip Drzewiecki’s seventh-minute opener to give GB a first period lead.

Krystian Dziubinski levelled at 33.36 and it wasn’t until the 54th minute that O’Connor found a way past goalie Rafal Radziszewski.

And for seven minutes in the tournament’s final game that followed between the hosts and favourites, GB’s golden dream was well and truly alive, after Ukraine came back from a goal down to take a 2-1 lead at 45.02 through Oleg Tymchenko.

But Kazakhstan levelled at 52.22 through Andrei Gavrilin to put themselves in pole position once again, the gold medal being confirmed when the buzzer for the end of the third period came, ending GB’s hopes of elevating themselves to the game’s top tier for at least another year.