IIHF World Championship Division IB Great-Britain - Lithuania 2-3 (2015-04-19)
Both teams sent their number one goalie on the ice. For Team Lithuania Djurgården (Swedish Hockey League) backstopper Mantas Armalis and for Team Great-Britain Cardiff Devil Ben Bowns. Great-Britain only had to tie the game in regulation time to earn promotion.
Great-Britain had the first say. But the blueline shot by David Phillips was ably gloved by Armalis. And only after a minute or two the first shot by Team Lithuania. A backhander by Darius Pliskauskas went wide. Jonathan Phillips is active in trying to beat Armalis. But the goaltender stands tall. Defenseman Ben O'Connor shoots the puck over the plexiglass. And because it came from the defense zone Ben had to serve a delaying the game penalty. Which the British survived easily. Straight from the penalty box O'Connor pilfers the puck from Darius Pliskauskas and heads for goal. A blasting shot just wide is what he gets for his hard work. And another Brit has to visit the bench of sinners. David Phillips mistreated Ugnius Cizas near the boarding. This was called by referee Anssi Salonen. Also Egidijus Bauba had an unpleasant encounter with the boarding after a Paul Swindlehurst check. He was slow picking himself up and while skating to the bench he nursed his aching shoulder. This time no penalty was called against the Brits. Then finally GB took the lead. With Robert Lachowicz and Mark Thomas unsuccessfully trying to score Mark Garside got some wood on the puck to score the opener, 0-1 (14.08). And right after the goal Mantas Armalis tries to clear the puck. He accidently hits Edgar Rybakov with his pass. And the puck almost ricocheted into the net. Luckily Edgar reacted adequately. Great-Britain pressured for a second goal, but a stick save by Armalis nullified Robert Dowd's shot. And the goaltender just got a piece of a Chris Blight shot to send the puck over the cross bar.
Right after the restart Robert Lachowicz jit the outside of the goalpost with his shot. And after a slahing call (22.27) against Dovydas Kulevicius, Ben O'Connor also let the iron of the goalcage sing. And after the penalty had expired another exclusion of a Lithuanian. This time Donata Kumeliauskas had to serve a boarding penalty after mistreating Jonathan Phillips. I recorded two shots on goal by the British side. A dangerous shot by Ben O'Connor and an attempt by defenseman David Phillips. But with an icing call and this meagre output it was not a successful powerplay. After a shot wide by Mindaugas Kieras the puck came back from the boarding and goalie Ben Bowns had to make one of his few stops to denie Mauras Baltrukonis. But ont the next attack Edgar Rybakov send a diagonal pass to Danielius Nomanovas. With a onetimer he marked the equilizer. 1-1 after 29.55. And with a little help by the British Lithuania passed this opponent. First a Paul Swindlehurst holding penalty. Soon joined by Mark Garside for slashing. Three Brits, namely David Phillips, Jonathan Weaver and Matthew Myers, facing five Baltic skaters. Ben Bowns made a save on a Nerijus Alisauskas shot and Donatas Kumeliauskas' shot went wide. But on his second shot Nerijus Alisauskas let the puck hit home low into the left corner. A 1-2 lead after 37.45 for Team Lithuania. After both sides were at full strength Craig Peacock hit the outside of the goalpost.
Not long after the second intermission Russell Crowley deflected a Jonathan Weaver shot into the net. Thus after 43.25 it was a 2-2 game. Team Lithuania came under pressure leading first to Arturas Visockas exclusion (interference against Matthew Myers at 44.38). Soon followed by Nerijus Alisauskas who ticked away Colins Shields' stick at 45.01. The penalty killing unit of Tihuania consisted of Mindaugas Kieras, Daniel Bogdziul and Rolandas Aliukonis. They had to face Colin Shields, Robert Dowd, Jonathan Weaver, Robert Lachowicz and Ben O'Connor. With Mindaugas Kieras in the spotlight, a shot wide by Robert Dowd and later Craig Peacock hitting the outside of the net with his shot GB mishandled a golden opportunity. With Mark Garside tripping Nerijus Alisauskas and seconds after Garside's return to the ice Jonathan Boxill's exclusion for delaying the game GB didn't get much nearer promotion. And it was farther away when Paulius Gintautas deflected a shot by Mindaugas Kieras into the low left corner of the goal, for 2-3. A powerplay marker at 53.07. In the hectic final minutes Donatas Kumeliauskas was thrown out of the match with a major - and game misconduct penalty for head-butting David Phillips. Colin Shields shot hit the goaltender, Craig Peacock is caught in the goal crease and twice a face off was taken in the neutral zone. Arnoldas Brosas expertly executes penalty killing, with the aid of Kieras and Alisauskas, gaining precious seconds. With 30 seconds left Ben Bowns vacates his goal. But only seconds later Robert Dowd has to hold back Paulius Gintautas. Stopping him from a free ride to the empty net. Ben Bowns returns for some seconds on the ice. And is off again at 59.44. But Lithuania survives.
In this upset of the day Team Lithuania secured third place and blocked the way for Great-Britain to promotion. A bitter pill for coach Peter Russell and his men. Thus Lithuania deserves compliments from Team South Korea for the unexpected promotion for the Asian side. And let's look at the amount of shots on goal. Britain fired 35 and Lithuania only 12! The Lithuanians not only thank their own supporters, but also the British fans. This was much appreciated by the islanders.