Video: Sheffield Steelers’ star Ben O’Connor previews Great Britain’s chances in the World Championships

Ben O'Connor says Sunday's Great Britain defeat to a fast-skating Russian League outfit at Sheffield Arena is a forerunner of other losses in the upcoming World Championships if they continue to forget the basics.

Monday, 29th April 2019, 07:30 am
Updated Monday, 29th April 2019, 10:57 am

GB failed to compete in the middle period and were beaten 5-2 by KHL side Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod at the House of Steel.

There had been little between the teams for much of the rest of the game - the damage being done in the second segment of their fifth preparation game before heading to Slovakia.

There, GB will play in their first top-flight World Championship since 1994 when they face Germany, Canada, Denmark, USA, Finland, the host nation and France from 11th to 20th May in Kosice.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Before that, they have their last challenge game, this coming Saturday. They are up against Slovakia in Poprad - which should be a true test of GB’s readiness.

Reflecting on Sunday's loss to Torpedo, the Sheffield Steelers’ defenceman thought the first and third period saw two evenly matched teams, but " the second period, for some reason, we didn't play the way we are supposed. A team like that is going to punish us and they did and that is just a taster for what is to come if we take a period off then we will get punished.

"This is why we are playing these games, they are good teams, they are relentless and if you do turn off they will punish you just like they will in the tournament."

Ben O'Connor playing for GB on Sheffield ice. Picture by Dean Woolley

But O'Connor, Steelers' top scoring defenceman who clocks up big minutes on the ice for GB was confident the side will blossom in the top-flight.

"It is a dream come true. It is something that may never happen in our lifetime again. It is something as a kid growing up you want to play against the best players in the world and to have this opportunity to play for your country and play against these big nations and good players is a dream come true.

"We just can't wait to get over there and get started,

"We are here on merit and we deserve to be there, back-to-back gold medals is something very special and we are not there to take part, we are there to show that we can play hockey and hopefully surprise a few teams."