Head coach Pete Russell hailed a “great start” to Great Britain’s World Championship promotion bid after seeing his side beat hosts Croatia 4-1.
Sheffield Steelers’ forward Robert Dowd – selected as one of the assistant captains shortly before the match – recorded a goal and two assists, with other strikes coming from Jonathan Weaver, Craig Peacock and Colin Shields.
Russell’s team have no time for rest in their Division 1B campaign with Romania next up later today.
“We looked good with the puck and really took the game to Croatia, especially in the second and third period,” said Russell.
“We looked hungry and we looked sharp.
“We have prepared well for this tournament and I think that showed as the game went on.
We have prepared well for this tournament and I think that showed as the game went onPete Russell, GB head coach
“There are one or two things we can improve on but that is a great start.”
GB took the lead at 11.27 through Dowd’s 15th international goal when he fired over Mate Tomljenovic’s shoulder from left side. The hosts hit back less than three minutes later, however, when Mislav Blagus netted on a five-on-three powerplay.
Jonathan Weaver restored GB’s lead with a neat finish from the left circle at 24.12 and they extended their advantage when Ashley Tait and Mark Richardson set up Craig Peacock at 35.43.
Colin Shields sealed the win with his 35th international goal at 48.29.
Afterwards, captain Jon Phillips, of Sheffield Steelers, praised the fanatical following of the GB supporters.
“Our fans have travelled in great numbers and it was an amazing sight to see them on the far side,” he said.
“The noise, the colour and the atmosphere was really something to behold.
“This is a great arena to play in and having our fans making so much noise is just fantastic.”