Big GB surprise

IIHF World Championship Division IB South Korea - Great-Britain 2-3 (2015-04-16)

Just before the match two limousines arrived at the ice rink. Two cars with a German F number plate. Indicating the city of Frankfurt. In it some South Korea dignitaries. Probably the ambassador. They cars parked on the sidewalk just in front of the main entrance. The doors were opened by bowing fellow countrymen. In the two preceding games Korea scored almost at will. While Great-Britain cashed meagre wins with only one goal difference. Everyone expected a South Korean win. Who boasted a number of naturalised imports like Brock Radunske, Michael Testwuide and Michael Swift. While for Team Great-Britain Cardiff Devils 24 year old Ben Bowns is clearly the number one goaltender. And familiar names like Matthew Myers, Jonathan Weaver, Mark Garside and Russel Cowley - who resumed his international career after a three year sabbatical - appear on the ice.

The first scoring opportunity is for Robert Lachowicz. But like Kisung Kim at the other side: no goal. And at 2.22 the first penalty against the British side. Jonathan Phillips had to reflect on his hooikg sins. Shots by Don Ku Lee, Michael Swift and finally Jin Hui Ahn, which was ably gloved by Bowns, followed. A period full of end to end action. With much ado for both goaltenders. With in the end a lucky South Korea as Woosang Park netted a onetimer with a shot in the slot. 1-0 after 19.38. A psychological moment for the marker, just seconds before the first intermission.

In the second period Korea did not need much time to up the score to 2-0. A backward shot by Kisung Kim at 20.35 went through the five hole. On the counterattack Robert Framer put the puck topshelf into the Korean net for 2-1. Just 16 seconds after the Korean marker. With coincidental penalties called against Minho Cho and Hyonho Oh. Korea was two men down. A time out by coach Jim Paek was taken to discuss strategy. Jonathan Weaver took shot after shot, but he nor Ben O'Connor was able to beat goaltender Sungje Park. And Korea survived. Again a five on three for Great-Britain as first Wooje Sung and later Jin Hui Ahn are penalised. At the penalty against Ahn GB coach Peter Russell takes the Time Out. And this time defenseman Ben O'Connor finds the net (top right corner). And it is a 2 all match. There is stilll some powerplay left and it is soon to be followed by a "Too many men on the ice" penalty against the Asian side. But goalie Park denies a.o. Jonathan Phillips.

And throughout the encounter the vast and furious British fans perform their chants. Then #4 Mark Thomas is penalised for interference. Much to the dislike of his two young kids who sit in front of me. They both have a British flag painted on their forehead and the "#4" sign on both their cheeks. But thanks to Colin Shields and Jonathan Weaver no harm is done. A solo by Russell Cowley on Park. He is attacked from behind and crashes into the goalie and cage. Referee Jacob Grumsen crosses his arms above his head. The penalty shot gesture. Yoonhwan Kim threw his stick. And Ben O'Connor scores a beautiful goal, shooting the puck from between his legs into the net. And then is was 2-3 after 46.39. In the remaining time Great Britain was under pressure. But hey survived more than four minutes of Korean powerplay. With just over a minute to go goalie Park is pulled. Heavy traffic in front of the British net but Bowns stand tall. Jontahan Boxill smothers the final Korean shot on goal. And Team GB wins!

A big surprise this win. But well deserved. This could be the crucial match to decide who is to promote to the higher level.