Ice hockey: Great Britain 6-5 Netherlands

Jonathan Phillips - Sheffield Steelers captain
Jonathan Phillips - Sheffield Steelers captain

Ben O’Connor scored three assists to help Great Britain steal a 6-5 win over the Netherlands in a Winter Olympics qualifier in Italy.

The Sheffield Steelers defenceman had a hand in the first three goals in a nip-and-tuck game in Cortina.

GB, captained by Sheffield captain Jonathan Phillips, never shook off the Dutch until the end, when Cardiff Devils’ ace Mark Richardson scored the winner with four minutes and 12 seconds remaining.

Russell Cowley equalised an early Netherlands goal at 3;35 and David Phillips added a second at 17;12.

GB looked well in charge with a third from Matthew Myers at 28;23.

But Netherlands scored two in two minutes to reduce the score to 4-3 at the second break.

GB conceded three minutes into the last period - nobody could have a clue at this stage who would win.

Belfast Giant Colin Shields made it 5-4, but with nine minutes remaining Netherlands equalised for a third time.

So far, so good.

Coach, Pete Russell, said: “I am not going to be disappointed with the outcome as the result was the important thing.

“Yes, there are things we can work on and do better at, but getting that win is vital for us.

“We dug deep and we scored a lot of goals.

“I hear people say that GB struggle to score goals, but here we proved we can score and score at important times.

“We can now recharge of our batteries and get ready for our second game.”

Saturday sees GB take on Serbia at 4:30pm UK time (5:30pm local time)

And then on Sunday GB play the host country Italy - 7:45pm UK time (8:45pm local time.