Watkins' saves put Britain on brink

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Great Britain are on the verge of realising their dream of playing in the World Championship Pool A as victory over Germany tomorrow would see them win Pool B gold in Katowice, Poland, and earn an automatic place among the world élite.

A terrific 3-1 win over Kazakhstan yesterday - their fourth in a row - leaves the side coached by Peter Woods on the brink of ending a six-year absence from the big stage.

Once again, Britain had netminder Joe Watkins to thank for keeping the dream alive. The Basingstoke Bison goaltender has come of age as the tournament has progressed and produced another dazzling display, making 44 saves as his side were outshot 45-17. It was a superb triumph for Britain, whose hopes of reaching Pool A were dented by a Kazakhstan equaliser two seconds from time during the qualifying tournament in Sheffield last November.

Britain, though, made no mistake this time as goals from Ashley Tait and David Longstaff gave them a two-goal cushion heading into the final period. Merv Priest netted the game-clinching goal 128 seconds from time before Anatoliy Filatov denied Watkins a memorable shut-out 60 seconds later.