Dowd is the star for GB ahead of Swedish switch

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FORMER Sheffield Steelers’ favourite Robert Dowd kept his cool to help Great Britain retain their second-tier status at the World Championships – just 24 hours before it was revealed he would ply his trade in Sweden next year.

The 23-year-old ended three years with the Steelers with a second regular season title in 2011 before moving to Elite League rivals Belfast Giants where he lifted another championship in March.

In a stellar campaign for the Giants, Dowd led them to the regular season title with a 72-point haul, including 37 goals, in 50 games.

But after just one season in Northern Ireland, Dowd is on the move again and will start the 2012-13 campaign with Troja-Ljungby, currently playing in Sweden’s second tier.

It is a step up in class for the GB international, who has always been keen on playing abroad. Last week saw him finish as the top point scorer at the World Championships Division 1A tournament in Slovenia, underlining why he has attracted such interest from European scouts.

His ability to stay calm under pressure was evident on Saturday when, with Britain needing a point from their final game against Hungary, he coolly slotted home a 49th-minute penalty shot for what proved to be the game-winning goal in a 5-4 triumph.

It means Tony Hand’s team will remain in the world championships’ second ‘division’, with the hope now being that they can build on their recent success and mount a serious challenge for entry to the ‘elite’ division of the world’s top 16 nations. That will only be possible, however, with increased investment and support from the powers-that-be.

It was Dowd’s former Steelers’ team-mate Jonathan Phillips who scored first against bronze medallists Hungarians, who soon hit back and held the lead three times in a pulsating match.

But further goals from Dowd, Owen Fussey and David Clarke kept Britain in contention before UK hockey’s star export stepped up to seal a memorable win.

Twitter: @philarra