Ice Hockey: World Championship: Red machine runs over Great Britain

Click to follow
The Independent Online
Russia. . . . .12

Great Britain. .3

GREAT BRITAIN'S first appearance in the World Championship for 32 years ended in a heavy if predictable defeat by the Russians here yesterday. The big red machine may not be as powerful as it used to be, but it had little trouble dealing with the British qualifiers.

Eleven different members of the Russian team scored against their inexperienced opponents, who were stunned by three early goals as the British netminder, Fife's John McCrone, struggled to find his form.

Terry Kurtenbach pulled one back after a defensive mistake, but a further three Russian goals completed a devastating six-goal burst in just 12 minutes.

While the Russians eased off in the second period, Great Britain came more into the contest, although McCrone was forced to make a number of saves before being beaten twice late in the session. Russia led 9-1 early in the third period prior to two goals in 35 seconds from Patrick Scott and Kevin Conway, who has only recently returned to competitive play after breaking a leg, gave the British followers something to cheer.

The British side's lack of preparation showed. The team had not played together since mid-February and many took part in the British Championship on Sunday.

Despite the loss and criticism about selection, it is difficult to imagine any of the players doing better, although there is some disillusionment among those left behind.

'It's the first time we've faced a side like Russia. The team were so nervous at first they didn't know what to do with themselves,' Alex Dampier, the national coach, said.

'We didn't do everything we could,' Boris Mikhailov, the Russian coach, said. 'But every game helps us improve the team. I was very happy with the result.' The Russian side were strengthened by a clutch of NHL players who should help to avoid a repeat of the embarrassing performances by the young Olympic team in Lillehammer. They finished out of the medals for the first time in the history of teams from the old Soviet Union.

Comments