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Going for World gold in Belfast is so special, says Giants' Murphy

 

By Stuart McKinley

Stephen Murphy is loving life back on the international scene and playing in Belfast is making it even better.

The Belfast Giants goaltender missed the 2015 and 2016 World Championship tournaments through injury, and his return, combined with the fact that Great Britain are hosting this year's series in the SSE Arena, is a perfect mix for Murphy.

All that's missing is a gold medal, but that is something that he hopes will be put right on Saturday.

Murphy played his part in GB's 5-1 win over Estonia on Monday night, keeping out 21 of the 22 shots he faced, and back-to-back wins in their opening games have put Pete Russell's team in a good position to shoot for top spot in the group.

"Playing in Belfast makes it all the more special," said Murphy.

"Belfast is where I live, it's where I call home so it was all the sweeter. I'm really happy with how I played against Estonia, but the result is the main thing, we came to win and we've got the job done."

Cardiff's Elite League title-winning goalie Ben Bowns started against Croatia on Sunday before Murphy faced Estonia and, with two top goaltenders at his disposal, GB coach Russell knows that he can rely on whoever he selects for tonight's clash with Lithuania, who also have two wins from two games.

"I'll just do my best whenever I'm asked to play and I will do whatever I can to help the team," said Murphy.

Great Britain have been backed by a vociferous support so far, with many regular Belfast Giants fans coming out.

Nottingham Panthers forward Rob Lachowicz is more used to having that crowd against him, so is relishing the backing.

"We have had brilliant support from the fans. They are like an extra player," he said. "We have come to win a gold medal and we have a good chance, but we must not get ahead of ourselves."

Today's fixtures: Japan v Estonia (12.20pm), Netherlands v Croatia (4pm), Great Britain v Lithuania (7.30pm).

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