FOR Great Britain, today’s final day of the World Championships will seem like deja vu.
Last year in Eindhoven, Pete Russell’s players entered their final Division 1B game needing just a point to earn promotion to the second tier.
But their dreams were shattered in a surprise 3-2 defeat to Lithuania, a result which allowed Korea to secure promotion in their place.
A little over 12 months on and Russell and his team face the same scenario ahead of today’s final encounter with Ukraine.
GB remain the only unbeaten team in the competition after Ukraine slipped to a surprise 2-1 defeat to Lithuania yesterday, a team Britain gained revenge on in fine style on Wednesday when they romped to an 8-0 triumph.
Ahead of the tournament, most people were anticipating that today’s final round match-up would decide the gold medal winner.
The only outcome that can deny GB top spot would be a Ukraine victory in regulation, enough to see them finish one point ahead.
Even then, they could themselves be denied the gold if Lithuania are able to record a regulation win over hosts Croatia in this evening’s final game of the tournament.
As expected yesterday, GB continued the misery for winless Romania, running out comfortable 6-1 winners at Zagreb’s Dom Sportova Arena.
GB controlled the game and outshot Romania 58-11 including 23 shots in the second period.
Sheffield Steelers’ Jonathan Phillips, as he did against Lithuania, scored first for GB, netting at 3.15.
Phillips then turned provider to set up Jonathan Boxill at 10.52.
Robert Farmer made it 3-0 on the powerplay at 23.00 before another goal on the man advantage came from the stick of Colin Shields at 33.19.
Matthew Myers fired home at 48.51, before Jonathan Weaver reinforced the advantage to make it 6-0 with a 55th-minute powerplay strike, Ben Bowns being denied a second straight shutout through Ervin Moldovan Horvath’s reply at 55.17.
“They are such a focused bunch of guys and nothing seems to put them off their stride,” said head coach Russell. “It sets up a massive gold-medal match and it is a game we have been building towards all week.”