The favourites to win the Division IIA World Junior tournament, Great Britain, began the U20 event on a high note after defeating Netherlands in the opening game 4-2.
The first period would result in a scoreless tie, but some implications from late in the first period resulted in the first goal of the game later in the match. Despite being down a player with Declan Balmer in the box, the British managed to score a shorthanded goal after Ivan Antonov beat the opposing Netherlands defenders and roofed it past Jefrey Vermeulen.
The third period proved to be the period with all the action. The shot count was close for the first 40 minutes, with the Netherlands leading 25-24 without a goal. Three minutes into the third and final frame, Floyd Taylor’s attempt at scoring on an odd man rush for GB came up short after striking the post. The effort wasn’t totally lost, however, as Ollie Betteridge picked up the loose puck and beat Vermueulen top corner to double the lead.
As it seems to be the case in hockey these days, two goal leads are never safe. GB found out the hard way on Sunday as the Netherlands were able to score two goals in two minutes to tie the game up with just ten minutes remaining. First, Giovanni Vogelaar’s wrist shot from the left face-off dot beat Adam Goss to cut the lead to just one. Then, just over a minute later, Guus van Nes got the game tying goal after picking up a rebound created by Max Hermens.
The Brits would finally secure the victory with eight minutes left. After losing most of the momentum in the contest, Jordan Cownie restored it to the boys in blue and white after a solo effort that saw him deke out most of the Netherlands team. It looked like he had scored again two minutes later, but his hard shot was actually tipped by Bobby Chamberlain and past Vermuelen for the 4-2 goal. That’s all the team needed in the end, and even though the British were out-shot 42-35 at the final buzzer, the team still managed to secure the victory.
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