Penalty issues proved to be killer for Great Britain, who watched Italy skate away with the 6-2 victory and advance to the final round of the Olympic Qualifying tournament.

The Italians were strong right off the start. While skating with the power play at the 8:15 mark, Alexander Egger tipped in a shot from Christian Borgatello, beating Ben Bowns high for the 1-0 goal.

Because Craig Peacock got a double high-sticking minor that led to the first goal, he’d have to sit for an additional two minutes. That put the British in a deep hole, as Anton Bernard was right there to capitalize on a goal-mouth scramble in front created by a huge stop by Bowns just seconds prior.

With five minutes remaining in the first period, the Italians would take the big 3-0 lead. The even strength goal from Simon Kostner put the British in an even bigger first period rut after his quick shot from the slot was too much for Bowns, giving the Italians the 3-0 lead heading into the first intermission.

Britain’s chance at a comeback looked almost impossible with four minutes to go in the second. Borgatello, who was having himself a very good game, used a screen in front to beat Bowns cleanly top corner, giving the Italians the 4-0 lead.

The British, however, would eventually find the back of the net, With 1:35 left in the second, Stephen Lee’s point shot was tipped by David Phillips in front of the net, giving the Brits some life heading into the second intermission.

The feisty British have been in a lot of tough games in their history, and they have made a habit of trying to fight back, With 15 minutes left in the game, David Clarke tipped in a shot from Ben O’Connor just in front of the crease, beating Andreas Bernard through the five-hole for the 4-2 goal with a good portion of the game still left to go.

But, a howitzer from an Italian defenseman meant that the British would continue to struggle. Alexander Gellert would score on one of the hardest shots you’ll see at this level of hockey, blistering a shot from the point that easily beat Bowns for the 5-2 goal near the mid-way point of the third. Italy would get an additional empty-netter with about 30 seconds left to give the team the 6-2 win, a big victory to close out the tournament.

With the win, Italy will head off to Minsk, Belarus for the final round of the Olympic Qualifiers, set to take place from September 1st-4th. Earlier on Sunday, Japan and Poland both won their respective tournaments to earn promotion to the other two final tournaments. The winners of all three groups will play in the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea, a tournament that could be interesting with no confirmed NHL involvement as of yet.

Follow me on twitter, @StevenEllisNHL.

About The Author

Steven took a different route towards his hockey interests. Starting out as a big Habs fan, he started to gravitate towards the more obscure levels of hockey, such as the low level tournaments in Asia, strange club matches between teams most people in North America can’t pronounce, and even some 3am contests between Bulgaria and New Zealand. Aside from his love for strange hockey events, Steven occasionally acts as a mediocre ball hockey goalie following a failed attempt at making it to the NHL as a fourth line house league grinder. Beyond hockey, Steven is an avid racing fan and loves to chat about NASCAR, F1, Indycar, you name it. Oh, and don’t get him started on music. That is, unless you want the whole history of metal and a guitar lesson. Currently, Steven is a credentialed media member with the Mississauga Steelheads of the OHL, as well as with the Oakville Blades of the OJHL. Steven has also hosted the television show "The Hockey House" on TVCogeco in Ontario, as well as a segment under the same with on LeafsTV in Toronto. Home page: http://www.thehockeyhouse.net

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