Team GB began their World Championship (Division 1B) with a 4-1 victory over hosts Croatia in Zagreb with goals three and four scored by Giants forwards Craig Peacock and Colin Shields respectively.
Robert Dowd had a goal and two assists as GB dominated the majority of the game from start to finish.
Croatia had made the better start in the early stages before GB’s first real pressure came on the powerplay. David Clarke and Craig Peacock went close before Dowd pinged a shot off the crossbar.
GB took the lead at 11:27 as Dowd scored his 15th international goal with a ripper of a shot over Mate Tomljenovic’s shoulder from left side.
But Croatia hit back less than three minutes later as Mislav Blagus netted on the doorstep (14:05) on a five-on-three powerplay.
Jonathan Weaver restored GB’s lead with a neat top-shelf finish from the left circle at 24:12. GB’s pressure continued and Jonathan Boxill, Josh Batch and David Phillips all had chances on the same shift and it was no surprise when they scored a third goal.
Ashley Tait and Mark Richardson combined to set up Craig Peacock who fired low past Tomljenovic (35:43).
Colin Shields scored his 35th international goal when he drove from the left circle to give GB a 4-1 lead at 48:29 to wrap the victory up.
GB head coach, Pete Russell, said: “I was very happy with that performance.
“We looked good with the puck and really took the game to Croatia, especially in the second and third period.
“We looked hungry and we looked sharp. It was a great start to the tournament.
“We have prepared well for this tournament and I think that showed as the game went on.
“There are one or two things we can improve on but that is a great start.”
GB return to action tomorrow as they face Estonia at 4:30pm (3:30pm UK time).
Photo: Colin Lawson