Last-second Antonov goal secures GB Under-20s a draw

By Tom Carnduff

A goal on 59:59 from Ivan Antonov ensured Great Britain Under-20s left the Hull Arena with a 3-3 draw on Wednesday evening.

Hull held a 3-1 advantage going into the third period, but GB showed great determination to come back and get a share of the spoils in East Yorkshire.

The Pirates took the lead early into the game, Brad Betteridge alert to a scramble in front of netminder Renny Marr to tap in at the backpost on 3:25.

Great Britain responded well and drew level through Liam Kirk on 4:10 when his effort beat Ash Smith in the Pirates net.

Dominic Osman put the Pirates back ahead with the first attack following the face-off. Osman dumping the puck into the zone and deflecting in with assistance from the plexi-glass behind the net.

Andrej Themar made it 3-1 on 22:23. He capitalised on a loose puck in the neutral zone and shot high into the top left corner of the net one-on-one.

GB cut the deficit to one through Ivan Antonov on 27:35. Josh Grieveson’s pass found Antonov in space out to the left of the attacking zone and the forward’s wrist shot beat Smith low to his left.

On the half-hour mark, Great Britain changed netminder. Denis Bell joining the action in place of Renny Marr, giving both netminders equal playing time.

Powerplay opportunities were presented to Great Britain in the third period, Kirk came close to putting the score level but his wrist shot went just over from close range with 44 minutes played.

On 49 minutes, the Pirates came close to making it four. Themar found Stanislav Lascek in space at the backpost, but Bell was alert to the danger and saved well low with his right pad.

With 53 minutes on the clock, Bell was called into action again. Salem’s shot from the left was finding its way into an open net, but the GB netminder did very well in getting across and making the save with his glove.

The game finished with a dramatic conclusion. Following a spell of attacking play from the U20s side, Antonov’s buzzer-beating effort made it 3-3. The original shot deflecting off the glass behind the net, Antonov alert to the danger to score at the left post.

The draw seemed the fair result. Great Britain having spells of good attacking and defensive play throughout the evening. GB will continue preparations for next month’s U20 World Championship in Hungary.