Team GB In Close Defeat To Hosts Lithuania

Great Britain were beaten 2-1 by hosts Lithuania for a World Championship defeat which ended their hopes of promotion back to Division 1A at the first time of asking.

GB outshot the hosts 23-15 in a thrilling, tight encounter in front a of packed and partisan Siemens Arena in Vilnius.

Lithuania went ahead when NHL star Dainius Zubrus set up Arnoldas Bosas on the doorstep (3:59).

GB equalised through Robert Dowd as he skated out from behind and fired past Mantas Armalis at 24:41, with assists going to Ben Davies and Davie Phillips.

Lithuania went in front again on the powerplay when Zubrus was left too much space at the backdoor (31:06). GB continued to test Armalis, who has recently earned himself a place in the Swedish Elite League. He had to be at his best to deny Dowd after a great feed from Ben O’Connor with two minutes remaining.

Head coach, Doug Christiansen, said: “Lithuania are a great side and they were very good tonight. We played hard and committed and our guys battled for 60 minutes. I am disappointed to lose and we have to pick ourselves up for tomorrow against Netherlands.”

Lithuania coach Bernd Haake thought his NHL star Zubrus was the difference.

Haake said: “Zubrus was immense tonight and had a great game. He was at the heart of everything we did and dominated. It was a great time and credit to GB as they were excellent.”

GB return to action on Thursday with a game against Netherlands (2:30pm UK time).

Photo: Colin Lawson

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