Peter Russell spoke of his pride in the GB U20 team tonight after they came from 2-0 down to defeat second seeds Lithuania 5-4 in regulation time in Tallinn.
The win gives Great Britain the maximum six points from their two games as the tournament enters its first rest day on Tuesday.
Lithuania started the stronger and were 2-0 up midway through the first period –Truksnys and Laukaitis on target.
Great Britain came more into the game later and created chances at the start of period two before two penalties in quick succession to Michael Stratford and Lewis Hook left GB facing a five-on-three penalty kill.
“Through adversity sometimes good things happen,” reflected Peter Russell after the game as Cameron Wynn broke up the play at the GB blueline, won the race to the puck and went 1-on-0 with Simas Baltrunas in the Lithuania net to halve the arrears at 24.41.
The shorthanded goal gave GB a lift and they dominated the chances in the remainder of period two, outshooting their opponent 15-7 but were unable to find an equaliser past the impressive Baltrunas.
Great Britain were the better side again in the final frame but the first ten minutes of the period were scoreless. That changed in a big way as the teams exploded for four goals in 3:20.
Ivan Antonov intercepted an attempted Lithuanian clearance and fired in a wrist shot which flew past Baltrunas for a tied game at 2-2. Just 18 seconds later, Sam Duggan picked up his own rebound to score and GB were 3-2 ahead.
Lithuania went almost immediately onto the powerplay, and though they didn’t score on the man advantage Ilya Cetvertak fired the Lithuanians level again at 52.52 – Domantas Cypas’ blueline shot deflected straight to the unmarked forward.
Less than a minute later, Jordan Cownie had GB ahead once again – skating through the zone and scoring backhanded into the net. The goal was reminiscent of Cownie’s effort against Netherlands 24 hours earlier.
After the teams traded powerplay chances, in the final minute Lithuania lifted Baltrunas for the extra attacker. As often happens the gamble backfired as Bobby Chamberlain gained possession and calmly fired the puck 150ft up the ice into the unguarded net for the insurance marker at 59.19.
The drama wasn’t done as Paulius Gintautas netted a fourth for Lithuania with 20 seconds remaining. Despite removing Baltrunas again, GB held firm and collected their second straight regualtion time win.
After the game Peter Russell said: “Lithuania started strongly, and we weren’t doing what we’d talked about at practice. Then at 0-2 we got into the game and started to control the play.
“At the start of the second we were really good, our forecheck was immense – then we take two offensive zone penalties and we’re killing a five on three.
“Cameron Wynn makes an unbelievable block at the top of the PK, gets to the puck first skates in and buries it. That gave us a great buzz and a lift.”
Despite dominating the second period, was Russell concerned at only getting the one goal back?
“We didn’t say a lot in the second interval other than ‘keep doing what you’re doing’ and not to change anything. Good teams keep at it and get their rewards – we did that today.
“I can’t be anything other than really proud of them tonight.
“The whole team ethic of togetherness and unity is brilliant, there’s a great team spirit in there. For me they are becoming more and more of a team every time they step on the ice.”
Tuesday is a rest day as far as the games are concerned, GB return to action on Wednesday versus Romania at 1630 local time, 1430 UK time.