Mixed emotions today if you were following along with Team Great Britain during the World Ball Hockey Federation (WBHF) Championships. On one hand, the ladies absolutely killed it during their rematch against Team USA, moving them into position to bring home a bronze medal tomorrow. On the other, things did not fare so well for the men’s team during their rematch against Team Europe. A couple of the guys were chatting about how it can be difficult to take a win against the same team twice, and that proved accurate. Though, the chips were stacked against the boys in terms of their mental game and just pure physical exhaustion. Too many variables were working to hold Team Great Britain Back. Still, we’ll take our win with the ladies’ team, and hope that we can carry that through to tomorrow.
First Game: Ladies’ Team Great Britain Vs. Team USA
The day started out with a rematch between Team Great Britain and Team USA. The ladies performed well yesterday during their game but would need to keep up their confidence and aggression if they were going to best USA again. The period started with a few missed opportunities. The ladies of Team Great Britain were unable to capitalize on a power play, and later, Lynzey Valianes attempted a shot but was flat out denied when a USA player took the ball right from under her. With just over five minutes left in the period, Danielle Lapierre took a penalty, but Team Great Britain’s penalty kill line saw to it that nothing made it in. One thing we’ve noticed about this team is their communication is improving every game. Cassie Silverthorn and Carlene McNulty displayed some impressive teamwork throughout the period. At one point, Carlene attempted to take a shot on a breakaway but had the ball taken away from her by USA. We were able to retrieve the ball to allow Jen Coombs to sail the ball right over USA’s goalie’s head to bring Team Great Britain to 1-0 heading into the second.
About a minute and a half into the second period, Valianes drew a penalty which put Team Great Britain on the power play. With some beautiful defense by Jen Povey, Sammy McIntosh displayed some masterful maneuvering around the USA players on her way to score a goal, turning that one into a two. Shortly after that, Carly Parker tipped in a shot set up for her by Jen Coombs, and we were suddenly leading by three. Team USA was obviously getting upset at this point, and things started to get a little chippy near our net when Becky Kostesky would stop a goal, but we held our ground and moved into the third period with a 3-0 lead.
The third period started out with Katrina Jegg taking a penalty for tripping. As we mentioned, our penalty kill line is insane, but USA was able to sneak one past them to bring the score to 3-1. After this, things start to get a little rough as Jen Povey and a player from Team USA get into a bit of a scrap. USA managed to take another goal at this time to close the gap even further, bringing the score to 3-2. At this point it was do or die, but you’ve got to hand it to these girls, they held their ground. With a solid defense, they didn’t let anything else by them. Team Great Britain won their second game against Team USA, which means that they’ll be competing in the bronze medal game the following day.
The women’s Team Canada also took on Team Czech Republic today, and beat them with a final score of 3-1, meaning that they’ll move on to the gold medal game, and Team Great Britain will once again face off against Team Czech Republic tomorrow during the bronze medal game. Let’s hope we can leave this country with a bit of new hardware!
Second Game: Men’s Team Great Britain Vs. Team Europe (AKA Team Slovakia)
It pains us to have to write about another loss. Especially after everything that the boys put into this tournament. Three games in a 24-hour period is no easy feat by anyone’s standards, but these guys put in 100% when they came onto the floor today. They were tired, and they’d been through a lot up to this point, but they were pushing themselves. After a minute into the first period, Team Europe took a penalty. Andrew Jegg attempted a beautiful looking shot, but it was unfortunately denied. The defense in this game was nothing short of stellar. Jegg and Bryan McGahey were putting their bodies right in front of the ball to take possession and run it into Europe’s end. The ball was back and forth this period, and by the end the score was still sitting at 0-0.
Team Europe started the second period out with a penalty but unfortunately we weren’t able to capitalize on it. Eventually, Mitch Scott was able to breakaway with the ball and fire off what looks like a sure thing, but it was heartbreakingly blocked by the goalie. Over the next minute, we saw Iain Downes take a penalty, an absolutely brilliant save by Bryan Blancher, and then Team Europe scoring on the power play. At the end of the period, Team Europe managed to score again putting them even further ahead at 2-0.
Things were starting to look up at the start of the third period. Two minutes in, and Rich Wigmore was able to score a goal with an assist from Cory Wick but, unfortunately, we just couldn’t score again. As we said before, the boys of team Great Britain put a lot into this tournament, and it’s a shame they aren’t returning home with something tangible, but they put on a hell of a few games of hockey. We can’t wait to see what’s next for these boys as they continue their ball hockey careers.
The men’s Team Czech Republic also took on Team Russia today and won with a final score of 4-1. The men’s Team Great Britain may be going home without a medal, but they’ll be leaving with another tournament’s worth of experience, which will only bring them closer to the gold next time.
There’s more to come out of the 2018 World Ball Hockey Federation (WBHF) Championship, so stay tuned to our Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook feeds, and check out our interviews with the players of Team Great Britain available HERE.