Lithuania thwarts GB. Korea promoted
The mission was almost accomplished. Having defeated rivals Croatia and Korea earlier, Great Britain only needed a single point from the game against Lithuania to claim gold. But the pressure was too much as they fell to Lithuania who came up with a gutsy performanceand played the role of party spoilers to the perfection in a 3-2 victory.
To call the game between Great Britain and Lithuania meaningful would be an understatement. Lithuania had the opportunity to leapfrog Croatia and capture a bronze medal whereas Great Britain was playing for the tournament win.
Knowing that promotion was within reach today, Great Britain started off brightly. They limited Lithuania to just two shots while managing to get on the scoreboard themself. Mark Garside was the benificiary of a good cross ice feed by Mark Thomas to ease the British nerves.
There was no indication things were to change in the second period. The Barmy Army saw their team hit the post twice when Lithuania equalised all of a sudden.
Danielius Nomanovas fired over Ben Bowns from a tight angle to tie the game midway the second period. The goal lifted the Lithuanians who played with confidence and slowly forced Great Britain back into its own zone. The applied extra pressure when two Great Britain players were sitting in the penalty box. Five seconds before the first penalty ran out, Lithuania sent a shock through the British hearts. Nerijus Alisauskas' wrist shot flew in over Bowns' shoulder to put Lithuania in the lead and a dent in Great Britain's promotion hopes.Continue reading
Great Britain had twenty minutes to do something about the deficit and to some players these proved to be the biggest twenty minutes of their career. The team has shown throughout this tournament that they are playing with an unbelievable brave heart and with the gold medal at stake, GB stormed out of the gates in the third period. At 43:25, the Eindhoven arena exploded when Russell Cowely successfully deflected a Jonathan Weaver shot to bring Great Britain even and on track for gold again.
Lithuania failed to register its first shot of the period until the ninth minute but that didn't stop them from frustrating their opponents. Coach Bernd Haake had complained about his team's scoring efficiency but he sure would be satisfied today. Lithuania's twelfth shot of the game turned the game back in their favour with Paulius Gintatuas blasting home on the power play; 3-2.
With the clock winding down, Great Britain were handed a present though. Donatas Kumeliauskas couldn't control himself and took a needless headbutting penalty giving Great Britain a power play for the remaining four minutes of the third period.
Great Britain could not unwrap the present though and left the ice with their heads down realizing the opportunity they just squandered.
"I feel sory for them," said Darius Pliskauskas who is playng in Great Britain since 2009 and knows many of the players on the opposing team. "We played one heck of a game today and made me feel proud of my country. This win means so much for us. That such a small country can defeat the likes of Great Britain and the Netherlands is simply amazing."
The victory means Korea takes the gold medal and promotes back to Division 1A. The team witnessed the British downfall from the stands and fell into each other's arms when the final buzzer went.
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