Team GB secured promotion to the IIHF World Championship Division 1 Group A with a 4-0 Gold Medal Game victory over Japan in Belfast on Saturday. The tournament set international ice-hockey records for attendances with 21,208 fans packing into The SSE Arena, Belfast to watch the six national teams in action.
Team GB, the host nation, rounded off the successful World Championship by securing their first Gold Medal and promotion since 1993. Japan took the Silver Medal with Lithuania claiming Bronze following their 3-1 win over Croatia earlier on Saturday. The Netherlands were relegated after losing 4-3 to Estonia in Saturday’s second game.
The victory meant GB, featuring Stephen Murphy, Mark Garside and Colin Shields from the Stena Line Belfast Giants, ended the tournament with five wins from five, following earlier victories over Croatia, Estonia, Lithuania and Netherlands.
GB killed off two successive penalties and had a chance short-handed but Russ Cowley shot just wide, while Jonathan Phillips had an opportunity on the doorstep following a free-flowing move.
Ben O’Connor and Robert Farmer combined for a one-timer from Robert Dowd from the slot on a five-on-three powerplay, which was the 100th goal of the tournament (17:42).
Brendan Brooks tipped in Dowd’s shot to put GB 2-0 ahead on the powerplay at 24:37, before Japan had a goal washed out after a scramble around the crease.
Myers tipped in a shot from Colin Shields (29:19) to give GB a three-goal advantage and then scored his second after he drove the net to meet a pass from Evan Mosey (37:55).
There were no goals in the final period but GB had done the damage to secure an historic promotion from the first ever IIHF ice-hockey World Championship to be hosted in Northern Ireland.
Great Britain head coach, Peter Russell, said:
“This is the biggest moment of my career and it is a fantastic feeling. To do it on home ice in front of so many fantastic supporters really is amazing.”
“Those boys deserve it. They were so focused all week. Nothing fazed them. I am so proud of every one of them and they deserve the promotion. I thought we were so good tonight from the first whistle and you could tell they were so up for it.”