International Ice Hockey Federation

Almost there

One point separates GB from promotion

Published 19.04.2015 00:29 GMT+2 | Author Joeri Loonen
Almost there
Great Britain's tight defense is one of the keys to their success in Eindhoven. Photo: Thijs de Witte
Great Britain is one point away from locking the gold medal and with that promotion to Division 1 Group A after a 3-2 victory over the Netherlands.

The game between Great Britain and the Netherlands was played in front of a packed arena in Eindhoven and the fans got value for their money. In the end it were the British fans that had all reason to cheer since the God Save the Queen was played for the fourth consecutive time.

"Coming into today's game as the group leaders does bring extra pressure," admitted Jonathan Boxill. "There's no denying that but our coaching staff is preparing us well and helping us doing our job as well as possible."

Contrary to previous games, the Dutch found themselves ahead early in the game. Jordy van Oorschot managed to keep the puck in the offensive zone after which Diederick Hagemeijer found Steve Mason in front of the net. The son of Klagenfurter AC coach Doug Mason, made no mistake and one-timed the puck behind Ben Bowns.

The orange dressed fans couldn't enjoy the lead for long. Within a minute the Brits equalized when a Paul Swindlehurst shot surprised the Netherlands goaltender Martijn Oosterwijk who was partly screened on the play.

It wasn't Oosterwijk's night as he didn't look good when Chris Blight found space between the post and the arm of the netminder. Things got from bad to worse when the Netherlands failed to properly clear a puck giving Craig Peacock the opportunity to slid the puck underneath a hesitating Dutch goalie to give Great Britain a 3-1 lead.

That goal marked the end of Oosterwijk's game as he was immediately pulled after the goal and replaced by Ian Meierdres.

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The goalie change did stop the goalscorring flurry. Although both teams hit the post once neither was able to dominate in the second stanza which lacked good scoring opportunities.

This changed in the third period which was more open as the hosts were taking more risks in order to get back into the game.

And it paid off for the Dutch

After Ian Meierdres made the save of the night with a diving stop on his right it was Levi Houkes who connected with a deflection of Maarten Brekelmans to cut the deficit back to one for the Netherlands.

The Brits are no strangers to defending one goal leads though. After all their previous three victories this tournament came with the smallest possible margin.

"A win is a win regardless of how big it is," said Great Britain's dynamo Boxill afterwards. "The Netherlands were strong today and played a good system which caused us problem. Also the goalie, Meierdres, did terrific for them." The Dutch netminder finished stopping all 19 shots he faced after coming in as a replacement for Oosterwijk.

The last 20 seconds it was nailbiting for the GB fans as David Phillips was sent to the penalty box and the Dutch pulled their goaltender to create a two man advantage but Great Britain survived the frantic finale. 

Chris Eimers was visibly disappointed. "This was an unneccessary loss. For a change we do start the game well but we give away the goals far too easily."

The win prolongues the British winning streak which now stands at four games this tournament. Great Britain leads runner-up Korea by two points. A single point against Lithuania would see team GB return Division 1A. The team participated at that level in 2012 and 2013 before.

For the Netherlands the loss means they can get ready for the game against pointless Estonia tomorrow. The game will decide on which team will relegate to Division 2. The Dutch require a point to send Estonia down.