Sheffield netminder’s baptism of fire

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SHEFFIELD-born netminder Ben Bowns was on the end of a 6-0 hiding in first full international appearance for Great Britain against Kazakhstan in the Olympic final qualifiers today.

The 22-year-old former Sheffield Scimitar and Steeldog has represented GB at under-18 and under-20 level and won the best goaltender award in the Under-20 World Championship (Division 1) in 2010-11.

But the senior GB team was over-run in Latvia today, on the last day of their ultimately unsuccessful tournament.

GB suffered two quick reverses followed by a wretched 0-4 middle period and could not live with their opponents.

Bowns, described by Tony Hand, the GB coach, as “a terrific talent” faced 42 shots.

Nobody was blaming the 6-footer plays for Hull Stingrays, for his part in the loss.

In fact his team-mates may be asking themselves if they protected him enough.

Head coach Tony Hand: “This has been a big learning curve for the players. “We probably took too many penalties and that hurt us.

“We kept it at a 0-0 final period and we can take heart from that ahead of the World Championship.

“I want to say how much the team appreciated the support. Even though we were down they supported us throughout.”

See an ice hockey wrap-up in Monday’s Star.

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