Great Britain lost a World Championship match for the first time under Mike Clancy as second-seed Italy won 2-0 in Suwon on Tuesday. Nicole Jackson made 45 saves for GB in the loss.
Italy had been beaten in overtime by host Korea on the opening night, and they showed their Division 1 calibre from the first puck drop. A step up in ability from Kazakhstan and a significant step up in physicality, Italy were a tough opponent for the British side.
In a scoreless first period, Italy won the shot-count 17-7 but GB did have a short 5-on-3 opportunity. Italy’s Elisa Biondi stood firm in the net and kept GB’s special team at bay.
Early in the second period, GB’s powerplay was broken down by Italy, and Anna Caumo raced 1-on-0 with Nicole Jackson, beating the GB goalie high on the blocker side for the opening goal at 21.14.
Both sides had further powerplay chances but there was no further scoring, despite another shot differential of 14-4 in Italy’s favour.
Great Britain’s penalty kill was tested to its fullest in period three, an early 5-on-3 for 1:45 was superbly killed in full, only to fall foul of a second two-skater penalty kill four minutes later. There was just eight seconds left on the first minor when Mattivi’s bomb was brilliantly saved by Jackson, only for Matilde Fantin to prod home the rebound for 2-0 at 52.01.
There were late chances for Great Britain including a breakaway by Chrissy Newman which Biondi did well to save, but the Italy net was locked up and they took the points at the final buzzer.
Head coach Mike Clancy said: “Italy are an established side in this division and deserved their win, but nothing to take away from GB playing with Lioness heart and battled it out for sixty minutes. Stepping up into this division was always going to be a learning curve, they’re far more positives to take from this performance and we’ll put them into practice on Thursday.”
Wednesday is a rest day as far as games are concerned, Great Britain’s next opponent is top-seeded Poland on Thursday 12.15 local (04.15 UK).
Great Britain Women’s World Championship schedule and results
Monday 17th April: Great Britain 1-0 Kazakhstan – Goal: Katie Henry
Tuesday 18th April: Italy 2-0 Great Britain
Thursday 20th April: Poland v Great Britain – 12:15 (04:15 UK time)
Saturday 22nd April: Korea v Great Britain – 15:45 (07:45 UK time)
Sunday 23rd April: Great Britain v Slovenia – 12:15 (04:15 UK time)
Photo credit: Karl Denham