Ice hockey: Sheffield Steelers duo on the mark for GB 3-1 Slovenia

Ben O'Connor - GB v Slovenia. Pic Dean Woolley
Ben O'Connor - GB v Slovenia. Pic Dean Woolley

Sheffield Steelers’ top points scorer Ben O’Connor took his Elite League form straight into international ice hockey as Great Britain beat top-seeds Slovenia, 3-1 in Budapest.

The offensive defenceman opened the scoring on the Power Play in GB’s first-match assault on the World Championship (Division I Group A) before seven minutes was out.

The lead lasted until 12:22 when Blaz Gegorc equalised, past Ben Bowns.

GB were on the back foot, especially when Sheffield skipper Jonathan Phillips took a holding call.

But the Brits romped back into the lead when Steeler Robert Dowd shot home at 35:59, taking the 2-1 lead into the second break.

When Ales Kranjc took an interference call, GB punished Slovenia again, O’Connor in the move which set up Brett Perlini for 3-1.

GB were the underdogs in the game - and the tournament - and their task was made harder when O’Connor was hurt with 5;23 left.

Desperate Slovenia called a time out with 3;51 to go and hooked their goalie Gasper Kroselj at 57;42 for an extra skater.

GB also called a time out with 78 seconds left, trying to slow the game.

But the unflappable man of the match Bowns and his skaters, closed the door to record a tremendous victory.

Coach Pete Russell said there weren’t many teams that could show such battling qualities as his. “It’s a fantastic result for the country” he said