Three third-period goals saw Great Britain open their IIHF World Championship Division 1 Group B account with a 4-2 victory over Croatia at the SSE Arena in Belfast.
Evan Mosey scored his first international goal on his sixth appearance, while Robert Dowd – who had a three-point night – David Clarke and Russ Cowley were also on target.
GB handed debut caps to Brendan Brooks, 18-year-old Sam Duggan and Liam Stewart.
Ben O’Connor had GB’s best chance of the opening stages when his fierce shot from the blueline was saved by Mate Tomljenovic.
Ben Bowns had to be alert at the other end, making two saves from out in front, as GB killed off successive penalties to Brooks and Dowd.
Robert Lachowicz and Jonathan Phillips went close on the same shift, before Dowd fired GB in front with a shot from just inside the blueline through traffic on the powerplay (15:30).
Croatia hit back moments later with a man advantage, moments after a five-on-three powerplay had ended, as Mislav Blagus netted on the doorstep (28:17).
Clarke blasted home from the left circle (43:46) for his 28th international goal, while Dowd fed Mosey in the slot who shot through the five-hole (46:45) during a spell of four-on-four.
Croatia closed the deficit on a five-on-three powerplay when David Brine batted the puck out of the air on his backhand at 54:25.
But Cowley’s tip from Lachowicz’s shot wrapped the game up for GB at 58:56.
GB head coach, Pete Russell, said: “It wasn’t our best performance but we came up big in the third period.
“They could’ve let their heads drop after a disappointing second period, but we came out strong and two quick goals effectively sealed the game.
“It’s a long tournament and we should be very happy with the result, but the good thing is they know they can do better.
“We had some good performances all across the ice and it’s important the players rest now ahead of another big game.”
GB are next in action tomorrow (Monday) when they play Estonia at 7:30pm.
Photo credit: Dean Woolley.