GB wins in OT – France goes down!
by Andrew Podnieks|20 MAY 2019
Great Britain's Robert Farmer (#10) celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal against France.
photo: Andre Ringuette / HHOF-IIHF Images
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Ben Davies scored at 2:03 of overtime to give Great Britain a remarkable 4-3 win over France. The win keeps GB in the top pool for 2020 and, shockingly, demotes France to Division I Group A. The French have been in the top since 2008.

Captain Jonathan Phillips spotted Davies alone in front during the 3-on-3 extra session and got him the puck from the corner. Davies expertly deked Florian Hardy and roofed a backhand into the net, sending the British bench into delirium and the French bench into disbelief.

It was a stunning result as France led 3-0 midway through the game and seemed to take control, and it was all the more stunning because GB had lost 9-0, 8-0, 7-1, and 5-0 at various times during the tournament. It seemed unfathomable that they could survive, yet they openly admitted this was the game they were keying on all round robin.

"It feels incredible," Big Ben said. "Bownsy made some unbelievable saves to keep us in the game; we had a PK with four minutes to go. The boys just put everything on the line throughout the tournament, and we just knew if we could stuck with we could get it done. I don’t really remember much! Jonno [Phillips] just told me to put it in front. he’s the fastest guy on the team and the captain, so I have to listen to him. I put it in front; he got to the puck first and threw it out. Two defencemen went to him. and I just got a chance on my own in front of the net."
 
That Davies scored the winner was poetic justice because he started the game with a horrible decision in the first minute of the game, inexplicably making a back pass to no one while bearing down on Hardy on a clear breakaway.

Incredibly, France dominated the overtime, outshooting Britain 5-1, and all five shots were goal-quality chances. But neither Valentin Claireaux nor Sacha Treille could lift the puck over a desperate Ben Bowns to put the winning goal away.

"It’s unbelievable," Mike Hammond said in celebration. "This what we came here to do and we’ll be back next year. We don’t do things the easy way, but it just makes it that much more special. We have a relentless group in there. We never stop believing. I’m not surprised by any means that we came back in that game and won it."

"I feel bad," said French forward Alexandre Texier. "It’s too bad. We have to try to do something next year, to come back to this group. This is terrible for French hockey. We just want to stay in this group. We led 3-0 then suddenly it’s 3-3, and we lost in overtime. We cannot play this kind of hockey. We have to get ready for next year."
France vs. Great Britain - 2019 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship
Ben Davies scored at 2:03 of overtime to give Britain a remarkable 4-3 win over France. The win keeps Britain in the top pool for 2020 and, shockingly, demotes France to the Divsion I Group A.
FRA GBR 20 MAY 2019

Although the first period was without a goal, it was certainly not without excellent scoring chances. The first of these came in the opening minute when Davies stole the puck inside his line and raced up ice. As he went in on goal, though, he made a drop pass to two French players trying to chance him down.

Soon after, Bowns made a great pad save off a redirect from Alexandre Texier, but the play of the period came from British defender Tim Billingsley. Damien Fleury took a back-door pass and had a wide open net, but Billingsley slid across and blocked the sure goal with his back.
 
Hardy made another fine save off a Colin Shields shot, and Liam Kirk had another breakaway for Britain only to see Charles Bertrand skate back hard and get a stick on Kirk’s shot.
 
In all, what the period proved was that France was not taking charge and the Brits were playing with a level of confidence they haven’t shown in Kosice before today.

It all seemed to go south in the first eight minutes of the second period, though. After failing to convert on two more good scoring chances early, the British found themselves down 1-0 when Anthony Rech wired a shot over Bowns’s glove off a great pass from Antonin Manavian at 3:36.
 
That icebreaker helped the French relax, and they extended their lead in convincing fashion four minutes later. Florian Chakiachvili hit the post on a power play, but seconds later his point shot went all the way, sneaking under the arm of Bowns and rolling into the net to make it 2-0.
Great Britain Post-Game Interviews
Ben Davies, Paul Swindlehurst, Ben Bowns and Colin Shields speak after Great Britain's overtime win over France to stay in the top-level IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship.
GBR 20 MAY 2019
Off the ensuing faceoff, Rech scored again, beating Bowns under the arm again just six seconds after the Chakiachvili goal. Down 3-0 and desperate, British coach Peter Russell called a timeout to settle his team down.
 
Guess what? It worked.
 
Late in the period Britain created a turnover inside the French end, and Ben O’Connor made a nice pass to Robert Dowd, who made a quick move and beat Hardy with a close-in shot at 14:59.
 
It was only one goal, but it was something to work with. Three minutes later, off another French turnover in its own end, Mike Hammond scored his fourth of the tournament to make it 3-2. O'Connor floated a shot towards the goal that bounced here and there, landing on Hammond's stick. He had a tap-in, and just like that Britain had some momentum.

The only goal of the third came from Britain off a fine individual effort from Robert Farmer. He beat Chakiachvili in a one-on-one battle in the corner, walked out in front and roofed a shot over Hardy's glove, tying the game at 5:16 and eventually forcing overtime.

"At 0-3 we were a little bit frustrated because we felt that we were in the game," Davis said. "We were playing well, but we just needed to correct a couple of wrongs and stick with it. We know we have a team to compete at this level, so we just tried to stick with it, do the right things, and we got it done in the end."

"We took that time out," Ben O'Connor said in reference to the turning point for the Brits. "There was 12 minutes to go in that second period, a lot of hockey left. If you’ve seen us play in this tournament, you know that we never give up. The reason why we’re here today is because we don’t give up. We don’t stop fighting, and we don’t stop believing. We dare to dream. And then 3-1, 3-2, we know they played last night, they were tired and the momentum was on our side. We kept on going and going. They were throwing the puck away; they were getting tired. It was just meant to be. It was an amazing experience and, you know what?, we deserve it."

The rest is history. British hockey history.

 
France vs. Great Britain - 2019 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship