By Kris Smith
Featured Photo: Hendrik Soots
Great Britain and Dundee Stars forward, Jordan Kelsall insists the GB Under 20’s squad don’t have to change despite losing their first game of the World Championships.
Slava Koulikov’s Under 20’s side were defeated 6-4 by Lithuania Under 20’s in their first game of IIHF Junior World Championships on Sunday evening. They went 4-0 down after the first period as the Lithuanian side netted three powerplay goals.
Joshua Waller got GB on the board early in the middle period before Jordan Buesa’s powerplay goal made it 4-2. However, a controversial call allowed a Lithuanian goal to stand despite goaltender interference on the British netminder, Jordan McLaughlin. Watch Lithuania’s controversial fifth goal.
Cade Neilson pegged the score back to 5-3 with another goal on the powerplay before the Lithuanian’s added a sixth whilst shorthanded. Despite GB scoring with the extra attacker to make it 6-4 inside the final two minutes, they could not find two more goals to force overtime.
Read the full match report of GB’s 6-4 loss to Lithuania here.
Reflecting on last night’s match, Kelsall said: “If you look at the stats from the game, we out shot them nearly three to one but we dominated five-on-five.
“We just had some penalty trouble that cost us in the first period then we showed for two periods that we can compete.
“We beat them in the last two periods, 4-2, but in the first period we played very well and even had some really good chances five-on-five.
“We are still very confident in what we can do and, in our ability, so we will just take that forward to Korea today.”
After going down 4-0 in the first period, Kelsall shared what head coach Kulikov had said to them in the first break.
“It was just more of the same, stay out of the penalty box and keep positive.
“When we were five-on-five we were fine, it didn’t feel like a 4-0 game.
“He just said to keep going, keep disciplined and the goal would come eventually and it did and that then brought another one straight away then we were back in the game,” said Kelsall.
The Nottingham Panthers prospect remains confident that GB can bounce back against Korea this afternoon, a team they beat 8-1 in a friendly last week.
He said: “We have beaten them already but we can’t look at that game even with an 8-1 score line and think it’s going to be easy because they are going to be a different team.
“It is going to be a tough game but we are confident that we can take the win.
“In these tournaments, it is always hard to score, Lithuania’s goalie was good yesterday but we have to keep getting shots from the slot and in the right areas and we did yesterday with 25 from right in the slot.
“We will try more of that again today and I am sure we will score some goals in the game.”
Kelsall was named as an alternate captain for the Under 20’s side and he believes that only a few adjustments have to be made to get their campaign back on track.
He added: “I would say just maybe clean up the back end a little bit and just defend with pride like we have been doing and I wouldn’t say there is much to change.
“Just keep playing the way we are.”
GB are in action again this afternoon as they take on Korea in their second group game at 2:30pm. The game is being shown live on Freesports.