Bronze medals for Romford old boys
PUBLISHED: 13:43 28 March 2015 | UPDATED: 13:43 28 March 2015
Quartet help GB bid in Estonia
Four former Romford juniors helped Great Britain win bronze medals at the World Under-18 Championships in Estonia.
Denis Bell-Blake, Glenn Billing, Toms Rutkis and Callum Wells were in the squad that met the Netherlands in their final match of the week in Tallinn, with a third-place finish up for grabs.
And Rutkis netted a late equaliser to force overtime, before it went to a penalty shoot-out and Sam Duggan’s effort proved decisive.
Britain had slipped to a 4-2 loss against Korea in their opening match of the tournament, with Rutkis picking up an assist on Duggan’s goal.
Bell-Blake replaced Renny Marr between the pipes for the second match against hosts Estonia and, after conceding an early goal, finished with 32 saves to his name to help clinch a 4-1 win, while Billing claimed an assist on captain Luc Johnson’s equalising goal.
But the Brits were then beaten by the same margin by Poland, after being outshot 30-19, with Wells picking up a late boarding penalty.
Although that loss ended hopes of gold or silver, the British squad skated to a convincing 7-1 win over Croatia in their fourth match.
And it proved a particularly memorable night for Billing, who scored a hat-trick in the one-side triumph.
Billing netted a goal in each period and also assisted on Michael Stratford’s strike as GB outshot the Croats 50-17, with Marr back in net for Bell-Blake.
And that set up the winner-takes-bronze showdown with the Dutch, who took the lead with an early powerplay goal before Lee Bonner levelled.
Bell-Blake was beaten by a second Dutch powerplay goal in the second period, but Duggan quickly got GB back on terms.
However, it looked like the Netherlands had won it when Guus van Nes netted in the 56th minute, only for Rutkis to grab a last-gasp equaliser with only nine seconds left in regulation time after Bell-Blake had been withdrawn for an extra skater.
Neither side could find a winner during sudden-death overtime and it took a marathon 16-shot shoot-out to settle the issue, with Billing and Rutkis denied by Ruud Leeuwesteijn before Duggan netted and Bell-Blake kept out Lukk Lambregts to start the celebrations.
Bell-Blake was named GB’s man of the match, while Billing collected their MVP award for the tournament.
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