GREAT BRITAIN U20S 5-3 LITHUANIA U20S

Great Britain Under-20s made it two wins from two at the World Championship Division II Group A, but had to come from behind twice before beating Lithuania Under-20s 5-3 in Brasov.

Bayley Harewood netted twice while Lucas Brine made 29 saves for GB, who scored four times in the final period to take the points.

Late goal levels things at first interval
Lithuania capitalised on an early powerplay with their first real chance as Jokubas Minelga’s shot from the left circle passed a screened Brine into the net at 5:14.

Britain had several powerplay chances of their own but finally levelled in the dying moments. Rhodes Mitchell-King on the rush found Cain Russell and while his shot was saved, Harewood potted the rebound the leveller with just 14.1 seconds on the clock.

Lithuania edge ahead as special teams dominate
The respective powerplay and penalty kill units were busy again in the middle frame, but it was Lithuania who regained their lead just past the mid-point of the game.

In a scramble around the net, Nikita Voloch forced the puck over the line after Brine had made an initial pad save – the goal given after a video review.

Photo: Razvan Pasarica

GB finally break Lithuania resistance in final period
Another early powerplay chance for GB in period three saw Zaine McKenzie on the powerplay slot home at the top of the crease and level at 43:24.

Inside the final stages, a clean face-off win by Alex Graham saw him set-up Harewood for his second – a fantastic backhand top-shelf finish.

What turned out to be a crucial insurance marker followed soon after as Sam Watkins set up Telford clubmate Finley Howells for another sweet finish at 56:09.

The drama wasn’t done as a delay of game call on GB combined with Lithuania pulling their goalie set up a six-on-four inside the final two minutes and Rapolas Marcinkevicius swept home a rebound from Brine’s pad save with 66 seconds remaining.

Lithuania were able to pull their goalie again, but Logan Neilson intercepted a pass at centre ice and calmly slotted into the empty net at 59:48 to ice the game.

Zaine McKenzie was named GB’s player of the game.

Grubb: Good teams find a way to win
Head coach, Martin Grubb, said: “We came out and wanted to play on the front foot, but made too many mistakes early and needed to play faster and keep things simple.

“We scored a goal at a good time at the end of the first period and should’ve kicked-on from there, but played way too loose and paid the price in the second period.

“At the second intermission we asked the players to trust the process, the team and themselves and find a way to execute and get the job done. They deserve huge credit for responding.

“In tournament hockey it won’t always be perfect or pretty, but good teams will find a way to win and that’s exactly what this team did today.”

There are no games in the tournament tomorrow, but GB return to action on Thursday when they face Korea U20s (face-0ff 14:30 UK time).

GB U20s scoring v Lithuania U20s: Harewood 2, Howells 1+1, McKenzie and Neilson 1, Graham, Mitchell-King, Russell and Watkins +1.

Click here for full game stats.

GB U20s – World Championship results and fixtures 
Monday 13th December: GB U20s 7-2 Spain U20s – Neilson 3, McKenzie, Stenton, Graham, Howells
Tuesday 14th December: GB U20s 5-3 Lithuania U20s – Harewood 2, McKenzie, Howells, Neilson
Thursday 16th December: GB U20s v Korea U20s – 16:30 face-off (14:30 UK)
Friday 17th December: Romania U20s v GB U20s – 20:00 face-off (18:00 UK)
Sunday 19th December: Italy U20s v GB U20s – 16:30 face-off (14:30 UK)

Photo credit: Razvan Pasarica.

Photo: Razvan Pasarica