Liam Kirk strikes 'golden goal' to send GB youngsters soaring

GB's Under-18s take the applause after finishing as tournament winners in Tallinn. Picture courtesy of Ice Hockey UK
GB's Under-18s take the applause after finishing as tournament winners in Tallinn. Picture courtesy of Ice Hockey UK
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LIAM KIRK produced a golden moment after his goal proved to be the strike to earn Great Britain Under-18s World Championship promotion in Estonia.

The Sheffield Steelers youngster - who has attracted interest from a host of NHL scouts since just before Christmas - struck the game-winnng goal to earn his side a 4-3 win over Korea in Tallinn.

Gold medal rivals Poland then dropped a point in the following game meaning Tony Hand's side - which also contained Steelers' team-mate Kieran Brown - finished top and won promotion to Division One Group B.

On a day of high drama, Richard Krogh, Finlay Ulrick and Edward Bradley gave GB a 3-0 lead early in the second period - only for the Koreans to hit back with three goals of their own in the middle section.

Kirk's fourth goal of the tournament, short-handed at 40:43, proved decisive as GB took a vital three points and their fourth win in five matches.

The win meant Poland then needed a regulation-time victory in the tournament's final game against Estonia to deny GB the gold medal.

Poland stormed out to a 3-0 lead but Estonia tied the game at 3-3 by the end of 60 minutes which meant Britain were promoted. The Polish youngsters won it overtime but had to settle for bronze, with Lithuania taking home the silver

Interim head coach Tony praised the efforts of his players during a long week of tournament hockey.

""This is an amazing achievement," said Hand. "They have done fantastic. Everyone pulled together. We knew we were up against some great opposition but we have come on leaps and bounds.

"We were given the tools by Ice Hockey UK to get the job done and the boys delivered on the ice."

RETIRING: GB's Anglea Taylor. Picture: Karl Denham.

RETIRING: GB's Anglea Taylor. Picture: Karl Denham.

The Under-18s promotion went some way to making up for the final day heartache suffered by GB Women in their World Championship Division Two Group A campaign in Maribor.

Cheryl Smith's side went down 4-0 to the Netherlands, the result earning the Dutch promotion at the expense of GB, who had to settle for the silver medal after four wins in their five matches. DPR Korea, who won three of their five games, claim bronze.

"We gave it our all but they were just better than us on the day," said Sheffield-born Smith. "Credit to Netherlands they played a brilliant game and we just couldn't match them.

"But we have plenty to be proud of this week in Slovenia and the programme is certainly going in the right direction."

Following the tournament, GB forward Angela Taylor announced her retirement from international hockey.

Taylor won GB's player of the tournament in Maribor. She made her GB debut in 2002 and went on to win 54 caps, scoring 39 goals, contributing 31 assists for a total of 70 points.

Head coach Smith, said: "Angela has been a massive part of Great Britain Women for well over a decade. "It was huge for us when she came back into the programme and she has been fantastic. Her presence on and off the ice will be missed."