Belfast Telegraph

Giants' stars to fore as GB step up their bid for gold

Great Britain 5 Estonia 1

By Stuart McKinley

Two of Great Britain's Belfast Giants contingent played significant roles as they made it two wins out of two in their hunt for gold in the World Championship Division 1 Group B series.

Mark Garside opened the scoring as GB hammered Estonia, while at the other end goaltender Stephen Murphy kept out all but one of the 22 shots fired at him in the 5-1 win.

And Liam Stewart, son of rock legend Sir Rod Stewart, hit the high notes too by netting his first GB goal in his debut tournament - which got the home fans in the SSE Arena singing.

Former Giant David Phillips also got his first goal of the tournament while David Clarke and Evan Mosely followed up their strikes in Sunday's opening win over Croatia by getting on the mark again.

Despite the wide winning margin, Great Britain coach Pete Russell wants more from his team, particularly with their tougher games to come, starting with Lithuania tomorrow.

"We had a quiet chat after the second period. We are all about hard work and being direct and we didn't do that," he said. "That's two nights in a row and hopefully that's the last time.

"You just have to stay focused in a tournament like this and keep grinding out the results.

"Estonia gave us a tough game but the deeper the game went, I thought we looked the fresher.

"There's a long way to go in this tournament but we have made a very good start."

A mistake in the Estonia defence led to Garside's opener at 4:38. A wayward pass from behind the net went straight to Clarke and he slotted the puck to Garside for the Scotsman to finish from close range.

GB dominated the first period, but failed to turn that into goals until the final minute. Phillips found himself in a good position on the blueline and he collected Matthew Myers' pass before rattling a fine shot into the net.

Estonia shook things up when they hit back just before the midway point of the game.

Their captain Lauri Lahesalu sent the puck into a crowded area and Roman Andrejev got his stick to the puck to divert it past Murphy.

GB nerves were settled just 1:16 into the third period thanks to Stewart when he snapped up a rebound right in front of goal to make it 3-1.

The win was sealed with two goals in the space of 26 seconds when first Clarke scooped the rebound from Stephen Lee's shot into the net at 44:02 and then Mosey did the same, firing his shot high past the goaltender.

MONDAY'S RESULTS: Japan 4 Croatia 2, Lithuania 8 Netherlands 0, Great Britain 5 Estonia 1.

WEDNESDAY'S FIXTURES: Japan v Estonia (12.30pm), Croatia v Netherlands (4pm), Great Britain v Lithuania (7.30pm).

Belfast Telegraph

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