REPORT: GREAT BRITAIN 1 POLAND 4

Great Britain were beaten by Poland in the first of two international challenge matches this weekend, as Peter Russell’s side build up to the World Championships in Belfast later this month.

Friday’s game in Nottingham saw Fife’s Brendan Brooks make his GB debut, while Luke Ferrara, Matthew Myers, Zach Sullivan, Evan Mosey, Ben Bowns and Ross Venus were scratched from the 28-man training camp roster.

Poland, who play in Division 1A, started much the better of the two sides and scored three times in six minutes around the middle of the period to open a 3-0 lead.

Damian Kapica opened the scoring at 8.04, redirecting Maciej Urbanowicz’s shot past Stephen Murphy in the GB net.  Marcin Kolusz doubled the score, lifting the puck high into the net after Murphy had made two point blank saves in the build up.

Just over a minute later Mikolaj Lopuski made it 3-0 and Great Britain were in a big hole at the first interval.

The second session saw GB play with more intensity and create chances around the Polish net.  In the sixth minute of the period, a ‘made in Nottingham’ goal saw David Clarke and Rob Lachowicz set up Jack Prince to rifle one-time from the slot to get GB on the board.

Poland restored their three goal cushion four minutes from the end of the period as Kapica netted his second of the game, a one-hand back hand into the roof of the net.

A scoreless final period saw the game end 4-1 in Poland’s favour.  Tomasz Malasinski and Steve Lee picked up the ‘Big Mac’ Man of the Match awards in association with McDonald’s.

The two sides play again on Saturday in Coventry, face off is at 1pm and tickets are still available from the Skydome box office 02476 630 693.

After the game, head coach Peter Russell said: “We were very flat in the first but I was pleased with how we responded.

“These games are all about preparing the squad for Belfast.  We have things to work on but we’re three days into our camp so we’re going the right way.

“Poland are a very good side and we didn’t match them in the first, but after that it was even in goals and chances so you have to be happy with that.

“Tomorrow will be a tough turnaround being an early game but that’s part of Championship hockey so we’ll go with it.

“There will be some tough decisions after the weekend but everyone is playing for a spot in Belfast so it’s a nice headache to have.”

Photo credit: Karl Denham