Great Britain reach Worlds in time to chalk up impressive win
GREAT Britain have overcome a 26-hour bus journey to make a winning start to their 2010 World Championships Division I campaign with a victory over Croatia in Ljubljana.
AGAINST THE ODDS: Great Britain (pictured playing Poland) make it to Slovenia in time to defeat Croatia in their opening game of the World Championships Division I campaign (Getty Images)
The British team had to make it to Slovenia by road after their flight from Gatwick Airport was cancelled because of the volcanic eruption in Iceland, which has ground to a halt all air traffic across Europe.
And despite only arriving at the rink just two hours before faceoff, which had been put back four hours by the International Ice Hockey Federation to allow the team to arrive in time, the world number 24 still pulled off a 4-1 victory against their European rivals.
Head coach Paul Thompson was amazed his team played so well after just a few hours sleep in the past 36 hours and is hoping they will be even fresher for their remaining games.
"What a group of guys we have here. I don't think I could be more proud than I am right now," he said.
"Twenty six hours on a bus, not a word of moaning or groaning, the boys just did their job, put their gear on and played their hearts out under the most difficult of circumstances, beating a very good and prepared Croatian side.
"We will all be glad to get to the hotel after the last two days of travel, get a good nights sleep and then get back to our normal routine tomorrow.
"We are all delighted and to be honest a little relieved that this game is now over.
"Korea will be another difficult game and we are back on the ice at midday Sunday, so its food and rest for these guys now."
Jonathan Phillips put Great Britain ahead after only five minutes but the Croatians, who are ranked three places lower in the world rankings, got themselves back in the game just eight minutes later through Dominik Kanaet.
The score remained level for the remainder of the first period but Ben O'Connor put his side back in front on 31 minutes before Greg Chambers doubled the cushion seven minutes later.
And a late goal from Robert Dowd secured the points for Great Britain on 59 minutes to cap off an impressive afternoon in Eastern Europe.
Meanwhile, top seeds Hungary won 4-2 earlier in the day over newly-promoted Korea with the remaining teams in Group B, Slovenia and Poland, set to play each other this evening.