Sheffield Steelers trio can take comfort in their displays for beaten GB

GB ice hockey Great Britain, after Croatia tournament
GB ice hockey Great Britain, after Croatia tournament

The Sheffield Steelers contingent in Great Britain’s silver medal squad can take pride in their own performances and achievements in World Championship (Division 1B) in Zagreb.

GB’s chance of gold and promotion to Division 1A was ended when they were beaten 2-1 by Ukraine, the winning goal coming with less them four minutes remaining.

It was a heartbreaking conclusion, but Ben O’Connor, Jonathan Phillips and Rob Dowd all made memorable contributions to the GB cause in Croatia.

O’Connor was named as the Defenceman of the Tournament.

The Steeler finished with eight points (1+7) in five matches and was GB’s leading points-scorer.

He was the tournament’s second-highest points-scorer behind Robert Rooba of Estonia.

Phillips, who scored the opening goal in three consecutive games, was named as the GB Supporters’ Club Player of the Tournament.

And Dowd overcame an illness scare to return in which he was admitted to hospital, to return to fight the cause.

Phillips said after the loss: “I can’t really put into words how I feel now. We are just devastated to come so close for a second time.

“The guys gave it everything we had but we could just not get over the line. It was our goal from day one to win a gold medal. We played well for the majority of the Ukraine game and we out-skated them.

“Maybe in that last period we sat back a little too much.”

Dowd showed what representing his country meant to him when he said: “Playing for your country is up there with the best feelings, bar marrying your wife and having children.”

Davey Phillips, who signed for Steelers from Manchester last week, also had a fine tournament.

Defenceman Steve Lee said GB are improving year on year as they just missed out on promotion for the second year in succession.

“The team keeps growing. Every year it gets better and better and there is now consistency.”

He added: “We had a week in Coventry before coming out here which really helped us, but it is so unfortunate not to come away with the gold.

“Whenever you are in a gold-medal game and lose, it is heartbreaking.

“Hopefully we can come back stronger from this.”