TWO goals from Sheffield Steelers’ Ben O’Connor – one an audacious game-winning penalty shot – saw Great Britain come from behind to beat Korea 3-2 and move into pole position for a gold medal at the World Championships.
GB, who came from 2-0 down for the second time in the tournament, have now won three out of three in the Division 1B tournament in Eindhoven.
Korea opened the scoring 22 seconds before the end of the first period when Park Woo-sang beat Ben Bowns and doubled that advantage 35 seconds into the second period through Kim Ki-sung.
But Great Britain rallied and Nottingham Panthers winger Robert Farmer reduced the arrears 16 seconds later.
Great Britain then made no mistake on a 5-on-3 powerplay when defenceman O’Connor fired home his first at 33.35.
And O’Connor made sure head coach Pete Russell’s team took all three points when he converted a penalty shot at 46.39 after Kim Yoo-hwan was penalised for throwing his stick (click on the You Tube clip to see how O’Connor produced a memorable piece of skill for the game-winning goal).
“We were brilliant and never gave in,” said a delighted O’Connor. “What a game it was and we fully deserved that victory.
“We just kept going and going, we have so much self-belief. We had been in this situation before against Croatia.
“Korea are an excellent side but I thought we outplayed them and it is an amazing feeling.
“We now have two massive games remaining in this tournament.”
O’Connor pivoted in front of the netminder and went backhand through his legs and scored top shelf for his penalty shot, which turned out to be the game-winning goal.
“I have been practicing the move in training all year,” said O’Connor.
“The Sheffield boys have seen me do it this year and it’s funny, as I spoke to them when I went to the bench.
“There was that long wait before the penalty shot and my nerves were shaking.
“It was either hero or zero and luckily it paid off.”
Russell was full of praise for his team’s performance, particularly against a team who had beaten them 4-1 when the sides last met two years ago in the second tier in Hungary when Britain, under Tony Hand, finioshed bottom of the group without winning a game.
“I am so proud of them right now, what a performance that was,” he said.
“We took it to them and every single player gave it their all. Korea are such a good side but we matched them throughout.
“We just keep finding ways to win - we have so much heart, passion and belief.
“That team just does not know when it is beaten and it has so much character.”