Slovenians end Great Britain's promotion dream

Friday, 15th July 2005

Great Britain’s in-line hockey team narrowly missed out on promotion to the world’s elite group of nations after a hard fought 4-5 loss to Slovenia in Kuopio, Finland.

The GB team were underdogs heading into the promotion/relegation game which sees Division One’s top placed two teams compete against the bottom placed teams in the elite division with the winner remaining in the top division. The loss sees GB remain in Division One where they are red-hot favourites to retain the gold medal.

Assistant Captain Andrew Sillitoe had two goals and John Dolan a goal and three assists, while netminder James Tanner was exceptional as the British missed out on what would have been a shock win, but also one that would have seen them set up a quarter final with reigning elite division champions Finland. Instead GB remained in Division One to face Chinese Taipei on Thursday night.

In a high quality game played on Wednesday, Slovenia opened a two goal lead with powerplay goals by Dejan Zemva and Simon Zerdin however GB fought back to tie the game after Sillitoe and linemate Dolan scored, before team Captain Simon Hehir put the British in front in the fifteenth minute. Slovenia hit back to even things up through Zerdin’s second and went in front at 26:58 through Nejc Sotlar.

The second half of the game saw Slovenia exert some intense pressure on the British defensive zone however 22 year old goaltender Tanner was in solid form, several times denying the Slovenian offence and Zerdin in particular. Great Britain’s defence was breached at
41:59 through Rok Bavdaz for a 5-3 lead. With time running out on the clock and on the powerplay, Great Britain coach Mark Cavallin pulled his goaltender for an extra skater leaving an empty net and Sillitoe scored on the advantage at 46:19 to make it 4-5. In a frantic final minute Slovenia conceded two penalties and GB relentlessly attacked however the breakthrough did not come.

“The clock just ran out on us tonight,” said GB captain Hehir. “It was a good team effort all round and we showed we are not too far away from being an elite in-line nation. This loss though hard to take can only make us stronger for the games we face ahead.”

Team GB Press Release