Sheffield Steelers skipper criticises GB’s attitude

Jono Phillips in Italy
Jono Phillips in Italy

Sheffield Steelers’ skipper Jonathan Phillips believes his Great Britain side showed Italy “too much respect” in their 6-2 defeat on the final day of the Olympic Pre-Qualifiers in Cortina.

The host side eased in to the Final Qualifiers in Norway as they look to secure a place at the 2018 Winter Olympics.

Sunday’s game was littered with stoppages and GB took 11 minor penalties during the 60 minutes.

Phillips said: “We lost focus a bit with the penalties. I think there were a few which were unfair on us but, at the end of the day, I think we could’ve refocused a bit better. I think we gave them just a little too much respect in the first period. With our energy and the way we skate, we could’ve gone at them a little bit.

“We were a bit hesitant in that first period. Three goals down we just couldn’t get it back.”

From 4-0 down, goals from Ashley Tait and David Clarke got Britain to within two to give Pete Russell’s side some hope.

Phillips continued: “When we got the pucks in deep with our little soft chips, I think we got two guys going.

“We got our forecheck going strong but we were in the penalty box too much.”

Cortina defenceman Alexander Geller scored on his own ice for the decisive fifth goal - and from that moment on there was no way back.

“I feel really lucky to be able to play here with this great support from the fans,” he said. “Thanks to the GB fans as well – they really got some electricity into the building.”

Meanwhile, Sheffield re-start their league programme on Wednesday(7.30pm) with a trip to Manchester Storm.

The north west club are in a rich vein of form and recorded one of the results of the season on Sunday, when they won 2-1 at Braehead Clan.

Steelers’ absence from the league programme last weekend didn’t do them any harm, they remain second in the table, four points behind leaders Cardiff, having played the same number of games.

Braehead, seemingly everybody’s favourites until recently, trail Sheffield by three points in third.