GB MEN EDGED OUT BY NORWAY

Two goals in the first three minutes of the final period gave Norway a 2-1 win over Great Britain at Nottingham’s National Ice Centre on Tuesday night.

World ranked 11, Norway are playing a two-game Autumn International series with Great Britain as preparation for April’s World Championships in Belfast.  The second game in tomorrow night (Wednesday 2 November) at Cardiff’s Ice Arena Wales (7.30pm).

GB coach Pete Russell named a large squad to cover the two games, with some changes enforced by injuries picked up in League play last weekend.  The two squads feature a mix of regular squad players, fringe players and some up-and-coming prospects such as Liam Kirk and Sam Duggan who both played tonight.

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Ben Bowns started in net for GB and was into early action as Norway created the majority of the early play.  However that changed when Norway’s Jorgen Karterud took the first penalty of the night and Britain went to the powerplay.

Captain for the night Mark Richardson found Robert Farmer in front of the net and the forward got the decisive touch past Volden in the Norway net to open the scoring at 11.27.

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Britain then had to kill two penalties of their own in the remaining period, Bowns coming up big with a total of 16 saves in the period and the session ended 1-0 to the home side.

The middle frame was arguably GB’s best of the night – matching Norway with 11 shots apiece and arguably edging the scoring chances.  That the score remained at 1-0 was credit to both goalies.

Great Britain’s best chance came just over three minutes into the period.  Liam Kirk was hooked while driving towards the net, and when referee Martin De Wilde blew the play down he awarded Britain a penalty shot.

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Kirk took the chance himself and went forehand-backhand but Norway goalie Volden got across the crease to cover the shot and keep the score at 1-0.

Norway had three powerplays in the period including nearly a minute of five-on-three but Bowns and the penalty killing unit kept the visitors at bay and the middle period ended with Britain still 1-0 ahead.

GB resistance was finally broken in the early stages of the final period.

First Norway’s Sondre Olden skated in from the right circle and shot high over Bowns’ shoulder into the roof of the net for the equaliser at 41.31.

Less than two minutes later, Markus Soberg waited for Bowns to commit before lifting the puck over the prone GB goalie into the net.

Almost immediately Britain had a powerplay chance to get back on terms but were held to shooting from distance and the powerplay was killed.

As time wound down, Britain were able to set up in the Norway zone and force an icing with just under a minute left.  Ben Bowns went to the bench with 42 seconds left and, after another icing by Norway, GB called timeout.

Frantic play around the boards in the Norway zone came to a halt when Robert Farmer was called for charging at 59.55.

Bowns returned to the net for the faceoff, Norway won the draw and time expired on a 2-1 win for the visitors.

Man of the match for Norway went to goalie Lars Volden, while Great Britain man of the match went to Robert Lachowicz.

Stats: GB – Farmer 1+0, Richardson 0+1. Bowns 38 shots, 36 saves. Powerplay 1/3. PiM 24.

Norway – Soberg & Olden 1+0, Ronnild, Roest and Karterud 0+1. Volden 21 shots, 20 saves. Powerplay 0/6. PiM 8.

After the game, head coach Pete Russell said: “It was a fast game, played in good spirit and we played really well.

“We’ve had the younger players coming in, I thought Kirk and Duggan their line was fantastic.  The older players were great with them, it’s a positive environment around the team.

“We made a couple of small mistakes at the start of period three and they’re a good team and took advantage.

“I think we rebounded from that and pressured looking for an equaliser.

“The core of the team have been with us since we took over a year and a half ago and we’ve developed good habits and our style of play and passion is there.

“It was a really good performance and I enjoyed it.”

The second game of the Autumn International Series is on Wednesday 2 November at Ice Arena Wales, face off 7.30pm.  Tickets are still available – CLICK HERE TO BOOK TICKETS or call the Ticket Hotline on 0800 0842 666.

Photographs: Karl Denham