Bang-on-form Benny will lead Sheffield Steelers against Nottingham Panthers

Ben O'Connor will take his rich form - both domestic and international -  into Saturday's 'derby' game with Nottingham Panthers.

Thursday, 7th February 2019, 07:21 am
Updated Thursday, 7th February 2019, 17:08 pm
Great Britain ice hockey team celebrate v Riga Skydome

The Sheffield Steelers’ defenceman scored an empty-net goal for Great Britain on Wednesday to seal a 3-1 win over KHL side Dinamo Riga, at Coventry.

Ex Steeler Luke Ferrara and Ben Lake notched the others.

In the EIHL, GB regular O'Connor is joint top assists scorer and fourth overall within the Steelers' camp and has amassed 35 points from 33 games, an unrivalled average.

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He will be hoping his Sheffield side bounce back against Panthers, following Sunday's 3-7 reverse at Cardiff Devils.

*Swinton-born netminder Ben Bowns turned away 41 of the 42 shots he faced against Riga.

GB took the lead following a quick break down the ice as Ferrara scored with a neat finish.

Ben O'Connor

Lake, in his first appearance in a GB shirt, broke short-handed and cut inside from the right to fire low and put GB into a 2-0 lead at 23:00.

Britain went searching for a third goal at the start of period three and Ciaran Long just couldn’t get his shot away at the backdoor and Steelers' skipper Jonathan Phillips fired just over.

Riga scored on the powerplay at 52:45 with Edijs Branmanis converting to reduce the deficit, but O’Connor scored into an empty net to seal the victory (59:17).

Head coach, Pete Russell, said: “It was a great night to play at a packed Skydome in front of so many passionate fans.

Luke Ferrara scores for GB

“We played immense and it was fantastic to see us do so well against a quality KHL side.

“It is important to get quality games in ahead of the World Championship and this enabled us to do that.”