International Ice Hockey Federation

Leaving it late

Leaving it late

Great Britain stun Croatia

Published 13.04.2015 17:21 GMT+2 | Author Joeri Loonen
Leaving it late
Team GB provided lots of traffic in front of Croatia's net. Photo: Thijs de Witte
Mark Richardson heroic in overtime win for Great Britain.

Two shots within 16 seconds saw Mark Richardson come out as the hero for Great Britain. The Brits stunned Croatia after erasing a 0-2 deficit to eventually come out on top; 3-2 in overtime.

With just five seconds left to play, Richardson, tipped home a loose puck after a scrimmage to tie the game at two but the best was yet to come. Eleven seconds into overtime, it was Richardson again who unleashed a slapshot that left Croatia netminder Mark Dekanich helpless.

"We sure left it late today," said assistant captain Robert Dowd after the game. "I felt we dominated the game but we couldn't find a way behind their goaltender who played great."

British head coach Peter Russell promised to ice a team that will play their hearts out and it showed right from the first faceoff. Helped by an early power play, Great Britain fired six unanswered shots at Dekanich but failed to find the back of the net.

Croatia was forced back but threatened via quick counter attacks themselves. On one of them, Mike Glumac went in alone on goaltender Ben Bowns but the goaltender stood strong. The golden opportunity should have served as a warning for Great Britain but at 16:57, Glumac again managed to escape and this time he did not fail. His short handed goal earned Croatia the lead.

The game started to be more gritty in the second period but even despite a two man advantage, Croatia was able to limit Great Britain to zero shots throughout the period. Instead the Croats were already celebrating their second goal of the day but referee Shane Warschaw called it off after video reviews showed that the goalpost had moved off its mourings before the puck crossed the goal line.

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Eventually Croatia’s lead was doubled after all. At 46:52, Nathan Perkovich fired home from the point on a power play on his Croatia debut. The goal silented the vocal Great Britain fans in the stands. But they were quickly back to life after Ben O’Connor unleashed a howitzer from the blue line that found its way through traffic and Mark Dekanich to cut the deficit in half again; 1-2.

The goal set the game up for a frantic final few minutes with Great Britain pushing for the equalizer and forcing Croatia back into their own zone. With just five seconds left to play in the game and goaltender Bowns pulled, Mark Richardson tipped in a loose puck in a scrimmage in front of net to lift the game into overtime.

The suspense was short lived in overtime with Richardson immediately pouncing again before finding himself back underneath a pile of blue and white jerseys.

 "Starting off the tournament with a victory is so important," said Dowd, a veterean of dix world championships himself. "It means the difference between being in a flow and in the hunt for a gold medal or having to play catch up hockey."

Great Britain take two points from this game into their next game tomorrow against Estonia. While Croatia will get a chance to make up for today's loss against Lithuania in the afternoon game.


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