GB U20 GO DOWN TO SLOVENIA IN OVERTIME

A goal at 62.21 sent Great Britain to a 4-3 overtime defeat to Sloveniain their opening game of the Division 1B U20 tournament in Budapest.

In a see-saw game on the scoreboard, Britain were 1-0 and 2-1 down before netting two powerplay goals in the final frame to lead 3-2. Slovenia levelled with a powerplay goal of their own to take the game into three-on-three overtime.

GB started with Renny Marr in net and the Coventry goalie was busy in the opening session as GB were outshot 13-3. This included a five-on-three penalty kill by GB with Connor Henderson and Cameron Pound in the penalty box.

Early in the middle period, Slovenia finally broke the deadlock as Luka Maver netted from between the faceoff circles at 23.19.

The lead lasted less than a minute. Liam Kirk broke through and went forehand-backhand against goalie Mark Vlahovic to net the equaliser at 24.08.

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Slovenia continued to dominate the shot count but found Marr in top form between the pipes. That lasted until two minutes from the end of the period when Nik Simsic got the important touch to put the Slovenians ahead at the end of the second period.

Early in period three, Liam Kirk hit the post after stickhandling past almost the entire Slovenia side. In Britain’s best spell of the game, GB drew three successive penalties from the Slovenians, including two in quick succession which gave Britain a five on three for over 90 seconds.

The GB special teams went to work and scored not one but two powerplay goals.

First Cameron Pound had all the time in the world to shoot from the high slot to tie the game at 2-2 (45.54). Still operating with a man advantage Pound turned provider to set up Sam Duggan to net a wrist shot near side and put GB ahead for the first time.

The lead held until five and a half minutes from time, with Slovenia on the powerplay a shot from Potocnik was saved by Marr, but the Slovenian player reacted quickly to the rebound and netted the game tying goal.

The remainder of regulation time was played out although GB were millimetres away from snatching the win in the dying seconds as Kirk centred the puck which evaded Glenn Billing at the top of the crease.

Overtime was played three-on-three. Just over two minutes in, Slovenia created space for Blaz Tomazevic to shoot in off the crossbar and win the game at 62.21.

GB’s player of the game was Renny Marr with 35 saves from 39 shots faced.

After the match, assistant coach Slava Koulikov said: “That was certainly a point gained tonight, and it could be a huge point in the tournament standings.

“Slovenia created a lot of chances and Renny was excellent, he gave us a real chance to win.

“There was character to come from behind twice and we need to show that character again tomorrow.”

GB face host nation Hungary at 4.30pm (3.30pm UK time) on Monday, with live video online at www.sportstream.hu and updates on TeamGBicehockey Twitter account.

Photo credit: Duncan SpeirsĀ