Fabulous fightback against French sees Great Britain remain in ice hockey’s top tier

Great Britain kept their place in ice hockey's top tier in dramatic fashion as they came from 3-0 down to beat France 4-3 in overtime at the World Championship.
Steelers' Robert Dowd scores against France. Picture; Dean WoolleySteelers' Robert Dowd scores against France. Picture; Dean Woolley
Steelers' Robert Dowd scores against France. Picture; Dean Woolley

Britain, playing in the top division for the first time since 1994, had to beat France to avoid relegation but trailed 3-0 midway through the second period in Kosice.

Anthony Rech, Sacha Treille and Valentin Claireaux all scored in a four-minute spell to seemingly consign GB to a seventh defeat in as many games.

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But Steeler Robert Dowd got Britain on the board before Mike Hammond's fourth goal of the tournament was followed by a third-period leveller from Robert Farmer.

That forced overtime, where Rotherham-born goaltender Ben Bowns made a couple of important saves before Ben Davies collected Steeler Jonathan Phillips' pass and scored past Florian Hardy to spark wild celebrations.

Britain will keep their place among the elite for next year's competition, which will be held in Switzerland in May 2020.

Head coach, Pete Russell, said: "This is massive moment for the team and a massive moment in British ice hockey.

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"At 3-0 we did not panic. I looked at the guys in the timeout and I knew which team was winning this game. They knew they could still do it.

"What they have just achieved is the biggest thing in their career. They drew strength from what they did in Hungary a year ago.

"They had the belief that they could win this game.”