Team Great Britain took on two more opponents today at the World Ball Hockey Federation (WBHF) Championship in Moscow, Russia. We knew today was going to be a tough day. Both the men’s and ladies’ divisions took on Team Canada, who have a spotless record so far in this year’s tournament. There was no doubt in our minds that these games were going to be hard, and this was not the news that we wanted to deliver today, but Team Great Britain looked good on the floor today – especially their defensive line – unfortunately it just wasn’t enough to take the win against Canada
First Game – Men’s Team Great Britain vs. Team Canada
At the beginning of the first period, it seemed like the game could go either way. There was a lot of fight coming out of both teams. Team Canada is great at taking possession of the ball and keeping it out of their end, but Team Great Britain was quick to act, and worked at keeping the ball away from their goalie, Bram Leggat. Early on in the first period, Craig Wood took a penalty which gave Canada an opening, but Leggat was ready for almost anything, and the penalty kill line offered up some good defense to make sure that Canada wasn’t getting anything past them. Eventually though, all the commotion gathering around the net became too much and a goal snuck by Leggat, putting Canada up on the board first. By the end of the first period, Canada had scored again, which would only further discourage the boys on Team Great Britain.
It seemed like Team Great Britain was starting to get hot during the second period. This makes sense given the string of unfortunate events over the past couple days, but Bram kept his head on a swivel, and made save after save. It was truly an impressive sight to see. But, everybody knows that you can’t save them all, and eventually player number ten on Team Canada managed to get a goal in glove side high. This should be enough to bring anybody down, but Brandon Dymond on Team Great Britain clapped back with a beauty of a goal from the blue line with a nice set up from Gordy Clemas.
Heading into the third period, Team Great Britain was staring down a 3-1 deficit, and before too long, Canada scored again. The time kept ticking down, and Team Great Britain just wasn’t able to get the momentum they were looking for to turn things around. With eight minutes left on the clock, Canada scored again. At this point in the game, it seemed unlikely that Team Great Britain were going to be able to turn things around, but damnit, the boys didn’t stop fighting. Shortly after Canada’s goal, Iain Downes managed to get one past Canada’s goalie with a beautiful assist from Travis Parkin and Dan Ruddach. With just four minutes left on the clock, Team Canada took a penalty, and Team Great Britain capitalized on this opportunity. Downes scored another goal on the power play with another assist from Ruddach. This awesome late game play would win Downes the player of the game but unfortunately, it just wasn’t enough to close the gap, and if that weren’t enough, Team Canada scored one last time to bring the final score of the game to 7-3.
The boys fought hard right up until the end, and we just hope that this fire gives them the edge they need during their two games tomorrow. First, they’ll go up against Team Slovakia at 9:00AM GMT (2:00AM EST), then they’ll play Team Czech Republic at 5:00PM GMT (10:00AM EST)
Team Czech Republic also took on Team Russia today, and won with a final score of 2-1.
Second Game – Ladies Team Canada Vs. Team Great Britain
The ladies played a good game tonight. They were communicating well, and each night we see them play, they show a solid improvement. Unfortunately, Team Canada is probably the toughest competitor at this year’s tournament. For a team that’s largely playing together for the first time, they’ve been showing some major progress, and they couldn’t ask for better goaltenders. Paula specifically was on fire during this game. Canada kept coming at her with shot after shot and she was all about the denial. Canada’s first goal came fairly early in the first period, but Team Great Britain managed to keep the score at 1-0 for quite some time. With six minutes left in the period, a few of the Team Canada girls rushed the net and ended up scoring another goal. Team Canada scored again one final time in the first period, and it was a real heart-breaker, coming in just two seconds before the buzzer sounded.
Team Great Britain really upped their defensive game in the second period. Canada wasn’t able to make any of their shots count, so the 3-0 gap didn’t widen. That said, Great Britain was also unable to cover any ground during this time. Carlene McNulty managed to get a breakaway a couple times but was unable to make her shots count.
This trend continued late into the third period as well. The defense was still strong, and the girls weren’t letting Canada push them around. Sammy McIntosh in particular showed some impressive play, and we think she’ll cement herself as a leader over the course of this tournament. With just over seven minutes left on the clock, Canada scored again, and then followed up shortly after with another goal bringing the score to 5-0 for Canada. After the fifth goal it became apparent that Hodgson had strained herself in an attempt to make a big save. It seemed like Becky Kostesky was going to have to sub in for her, but like a true champ, she got back up after a few moments to finish out the game. Team Canada scored one last time before the game was over to bring the final score to 6-0 for Canada, but Paula’s incredible defensive ability won her the player of the game.
— Team Great Britain (@BHiTeamGB) June 14, 2018
It’s never fun to have to write about a loss, but in talking with these girls, it’s clear that they’re ready to take it on the chin and start tomorrow anew. Up next Team Great Britain is taking on Team USA at 1:00PM GMT (6:00AM EST). The game will be streamed live right HERE
Team Czech Republic also took on Team USA today, and won with a final score of 5-1. Later in the day, they lost to Team Russia with a final score of 4-0.