Youngsters aiming for World Championship gold in Dumfries

INTERNATIONAL CALLING: Sheffield Steelers' Cole Shudra will play as a forward in Dumfires for GB Under-20s. Picture: Dean Woolley
INTERNATIONAL CALLING: Sheffield Steelers' Cole Shudra will play as a forward in Dumfires for GB Under-20s. Picture: Dean Woolley
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SHEFFIELD STEELERS’ duo Liam Kirk and Cole Shudra are this week expected to play an integral role in Great Britain Under-20s’ World Championship campaign, which gets underway in Scotland tomorrow.

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Both teenagers have made great strides under Steelers’ head coach Paul Thompson in the Elite League this season and will be in the line-up when the hosts launch their bid for a gold medal against Romania at Dumfries Ice Bowl (8pm).

Both players scored in Thursday night’s final warm-up game against Korea, which saw the hosts enjoy a comfortable 5-2 triumph.

Shudra has been used primarily in a defensive role by the Steelers this season, but will be used as a forward by head coach Slava Koulikov.

Shudra and Kirk’s Steelers’ team-mate Kieran Brown was also part of the 22-strong squad before being forced to withdraw through injury on Thursday, his spot being taken by Basingstoke Bison forward Josh Smith.

GOLD DIGGER: Liam Kirk. Picture: Dean Woolley.

GOLD DIGGER: Liam Kirk. Picture: Dean Woolley.

Hull Pirates’ Tom Stubley is one of seven defencemen in the squad.

“It was obviously a real disappointment for Kieran and it is such a shame he has had to pull out with injury,” said Koulikov. “But we have a talented squad and I said at the time of naming the roster that some quality players missed out on the final selection.”

On his team’s final warm-up game, Koulikov added: “I think we did alright. There were some good points and some points we can correct.

“It is only one game but it was a game against a good opponent. It has been an interesting few days and a lot of work has taken place on and off the ice.”

It was obviously a real disappointment for Kieran and it is such a shame he has had to pull out with injury,

GB Under-20s coach, Slava Koulikov.

The tournament’s opening game sees Japan take on the Netherlands, with Korea then facing-off against Estonia before the hosts take to the ice.