Home » Already relegated Great Britain end World Championships on high with win over Austria

Already relegated Great Britain end World Championships on high with win over Austria

Belfast Giants forward Ben Lake grabbed an assist as GB fought back from a goal down to claim a comfortable win and ensure they would not end the tournament pointless, although they would still finish bottom of Group A.

That means they are headed back down to Division 1A next year – which, as they did last year when they were promoted by winning gold in Nottingham, they will likely bid to host – aiming to bounce straight back up to the elite level in 2026.

The damage had been done earlier in the tournament as GB did not capitalise on excellent chances to pick up points against Canada and Denmark, meaning a 5-2 defeat to Norway on Monday sealed its fate.

However, they finished with a flourish as they denied the impressive Austrians a chance to reach the knockouts, which would have been a shock in itself given this final group game was expected to be a straight relegation decider between the two nations.

Austria had taken the lead just 2:40 into the second period as a hooking call on Robert Dowd allowed Clemens Unterweger to smash home on the powerplay past Ben Bowns – 26 saves – and it seemed that it would be another of those games for GB when Austrian netminder David Kickert – 28 saves – made a world class stop on the line to deny Brett Perlini on the powerplay.

But straight off the resulting face-off, and with Austria serving two penalties for too many men and Paul Stapelfeldt’s tripping call, Lake drew the puck back to Ben O’Connor and he hammered a slapshot into the top corner to level the scores at 27:44.

And in the final period GB ran away with it, despite the Austrians having more to play for.

Another penalty on Thomas Raffl for cross-checking saw Perlini get his goal, scooping up a rebound from a Dowd shot to tap in for the go-ahead goal on the powerplay just 1:59 after the restart, and then Evan Mosey got the game-winner at 50:25 when he caught a bouncing puck and slid it in after controlling.

Knowing only a win would keep their last-eight hopes alive, Austria pulled Kickert for the extra skater with 4:35 remaining but just six seconds later the puck was in their net again, GB winning the face-off and Dowd sliding it the length of the ice and into the empty net for the clincher.

Mario Huber would strike a late consolation for Austria on the powerplay – Mosey called for tripping – with 45 seconds left, but GB would not be denied their first points of the tournament, which will be a nice morale boost heading into August’s final Olympic qualifiers in Aalborg, Denmark.

They will be buoyed by how they performed against Denmark, even though they lost 4-3, and will relish a rematch with Norway, with minnows Japan rounding out a group that GB will have confidence they can progress from.