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GB joint top as Giants' Shields edges closer to scoring record

Great Britain 5 Lithuania 2

By Stuart McKinley

Belfast Giants' all-time leading goalscorer Colin Shields moved himself to within two goals of the Great Britain national team's record mark as he set the side on their way to a third successive victory in World Championship Division 1 Group B.

The Scotsman struck GB's opener against Lithuania at the SSE Arena and although that was quickly cancelled out, the tournament hosts went on to win 5-2 and now sit joint top of the group on maximum points alongside their main gold medal rivals Japan.

Shields' 38th goal in GB colours came on a powerplay just 1:41 into the game that pitched together two of the three teams who had perfect records after two matches.

He was first to the puck after a rebound from Ben O'Connor's shot and he swept home past young Lithuania goaltender Artur Pavliukov - the first goal he had conceded in the tournament.

The Lithuanians reacted quickly, however, drawing level 31 seconds later on a powerplay of their own through Arnoldas Bosas.

Three goals inside nine minutes put GB firmly in the driving seat before the end of the first period.

First, Jonathan Phillips got his stick to the puck in front of Pavliukov to deflect Paul Swindlehurst's shot into the net at 7:26 and then Evan Mosey kept up his goal-a-game record by robbing an opponent of the puck before slotting home at 12:55.

Another powerplay led to Robert Farmer making it 4-1 at 16:15 when he smashed into the net.

After a tame second period, in which GB controlled possession, Lithuania threatened to make a comeback when Ugnius Cizas pulled a goal back 33 seconds into the third period and after Pavliukov denied Liam Stewart, GB did score a fifth when O'Connor stole the puck and let fly from the blue line, with the shot going between the goaltender's pads via a deflection off a defenceman.

Yesterday's results: Japan 6 Estonia 2, Netherlands 2 Croatia 6, Great Britain 5 Lithuania 2.

Tomorrow's fixtures: Lithuania v Japan (12.30pm), Estonia v Croatia (4pm), Great Britain v Netherlands (7.30pm).

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