SHEFFIELD STEELERS’ Rob Dowd urged caution from Great Britain after their opening day victory over favourites Slovenia at the World Championships in Hungary.
Pete Russell’s team won 3-1 in Budapest to record a dream start on their return to the second tier of the world game.
GB’s players now have a day off before taking on Kazakhstan on Tuesday, the former Soviet republic beating the hosts 3-0 in their first game of the week-long Division 1A tournament.
“This has been a great start and we can take a lot from this game into the rest of the tournament – but we have four more games to go,” said Dowd.
“It was an amazing performance. I lost count of the number of shots blocked by the guys – it was a performance to be proud of.
“We put everything on the line and produced one of the most special performances I can remember. Slovenia are a great hockey nation but we came out fired up and took it to them from the first face-off. We grew in confidence as the game went on and I think that showed.”
After dealing with the anticipated early pressure, GB more than held their own in the opening exchanges, taking advantage of their first powerplay when O’Connor smashed the puck into the top corner at 6.50.
Slovenia levelled at 12.22 with a well-worked move which left GB thinly-stretched and allowed Blaz Gregorc to slot home past a helpless Bowns.
That was how it stayed until the first period break and there was nothing between the two sides in the middle section until Dowd reacted quickest to put GB ahead for a second time at 35.59, flat-batting an airborne puck as it dropped in front of the Slovenia net after cannoning off the back boards.
Just under five minutes into the third, it got even better for Russell’s team when a well-worked move saw Steelers’ Ben O’Connor feed Mike Hammond, who in turn found Perlini free to sweep the puck home at the back post.
There were moments of desperate defence as Slovenia outshot GB 18-3 in the third, but Rotherham-born netminder Bowns and his team-mates put their bodies on the line to secure a vital three points.
We put everything on the line and produced one of the most special performances I can remember.GB and Steelers’ Rob Dowd