GAMEDAY PREVIEW: GREAT BRITAIN v RUSSIA

Great Britain face Russia today in their opening Group A game at the 2021 IIHF World Championship at the Olympic Sports Centre in Latvia (2:15pm UK time).

It’s a second game in as many days for the Russians after their dramatic 4-3 victory over Czech Republic yesterday.

Czech Republic came from behind three times, including scoring inside the final three minutes, before Mikhail Grigorenko won it for Russia with 19 seconds remaining.

GB netminder Ben Bowns is set to win his 50th cap in Riga this afternoon, becoming the 26th player to do so in the history of the national side.

With six new faces in the Great Britain squad, a number of debut caps could be handed out when the line-ups are revealed ahead of face-off.

Head-to-Head
GB have played Russia only once in their history and on that occasion it was also the opening match of a World Championship tournament.

Russia won 12-3 in 1994 in Bolazno, Italy with the GB side containing Mike O’Connor, the father of current defenceman Ben O’Connor.

Ice Hockey UK’s current National Development Head Coach Tony Hand was also in the line-up and GB were coached by Alex Dampier.

How to watch
The game is live on FreeSports in the UK. Commentary will come from four-time Olympic broadcaster Aaron Murphy and former GB forward Paul Adey who won 55 caps between 1995 and 2001, scoring 28 goals and contributing 24 assists for 52 points.

FreeSports is available free on Sky Channel 422, Virgin Media Channel 553, on Channel 64 on Freeview and BT and via the FreeSports Player.