Great Britain’s women made it a Thursday double over the Netherlands with a 3-0 success at Ice Sheffield.
Hours after the men’s side took the points in a 6-5 Olympic qualifier, GB women took to the ice for the first of two challenge games ahead of April’s World Championship.
The coaching staff had named a long list of 29 for the series, and there were nine skaters in Thursday’s lineup playing their first senior GB international.
Special teams were to play a big part in the physical encounter as a total of seventeen minor penalties were handed out in total. Both sides had failed to score on two powerplays each in the first period before GB took the lead with a pair of goals in the 18th minute.
Chrissy Newman drove to the net and although her first shot was saved by van Leeuven in the Netherlands goal, Newman was able to jab home the rebound to open the scoring at 17.22. Saffron Allen and Jodie Bloom picked up the assists.
Just 22 seconds later, GB captain Katie Henry created space for herself in the slot and after making the goalie commit fired high into the net for the second goal. The helpers on the goal went to Georgina Farman and Helen Emerson.
Britain’s goals were arguably against the run of play as Netherlands were enjoying a lot of possession and had several good scoring chances but GB goalie Nicole Jackson was on top form – 18 saves in the first session alone and 39 in total for the eventual shutout.
A scoreless middle session saw a total of eight powerplays without reward and GB holding the Dutch to shots from around the outside – not allowing much in close to Jackson.
The final frame saw the physicality increase from the Netherlands however GB kept their composure and defensive structure while looking dangerous on the break.
GB scored their third goal just over five minutes from time. After a spell of four-on-four, Leanne Ganney came out of the penalty box and was sent on a breakaway by CJ Ashton’s pass out of defence. Ganney’s initial shot was saved, however Georgina Farman was following up and netted the second chance to round off the scoring at 54.48.
After the game coach Michelle Smith said: “With so many new players we are delighted with the win – the debutants didn’t look out of place and I think we’ll have a real headache when it comes to naming our final squad.
“Tomorrow will be another new game, we’ll have several new players again and the Netherlands will want to get a result so we’re expecting an even tougher game.”
James Ashton added: “It was a pretty physical game but even when the Netherlands stepped it up our girls didn’t back down and kept playing as we wanted and they got the result they deserved.”
Report courtesy of Ice Hockey UK