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  Saturday, 31 August, 2002, 02:33 GMT 03:33 UK
Slovenia hold Britain
Great Britain captain David Longstaff
David Longstaff's side were denied at the death
Great Britain 4 Slovenia 4

Slovenia scored with just 34 seconds left to deny Great Britain a winning start in the Euro Ice Hockey Challenge at Nottingham's National Ice Centre on Friday.

Ivo Jan finally made late pressure count with the game-tying goal as Slovenia capitalised on an extra skater after deciding to pull netminder Gaber Glavic in a bid to save the game.

Neither side managed to find a winner in the five-minute sudden-death overtime period and had to settle for a point each.

Jan's late strike denied new-look Britain the chance to gain revenge over Slovenia, who pipped them on goal difference in controversial circumstances in the 2001 World Championships to gain promotion to the top flight.

Slovenia started with all guns blazing and Britain netminder Joe Watkins, who produced a sensational performance, was forced to make a number of impressive saves in the opening five minutes.

GB fell behind in the 17th minute through Blaz Emersic before three goals in six second-period minutes put Chris McSorley's side in control.

Jeff Hoad, who rejoined London Knights from ISL champions Belfast Giants this summer, pounced after Glavic had saved the initial shot from GB captain David Longstaff.

Hoad put GB ahead two minutes later when he reacted first to the loose puck to tuck a neat shot past Glavic.

Belarus beat Hungary

The Slovenia netminder was beaten for a third time shortly afterwards as Ashley Tait fired in a stunning shot which left him stranded.

Longstaff should have stretched GB's lead but his shot was comfortably saved by Glavic.

Slovenia pulled a goal back through Edo Terglav with 13 minutes left but Gary Wishart restored GB's two-goal cushion within 15 seconds.

Jurij Golicic's strike saw Slovenia cut the deficit again before Jan's late leveller saw the teams share the spoils.

Earlier, Olympic semi-finalists Belarus beat Hungary 2-1 in the opening game of the inaugural three-day tournament.

Netminder Levente Szuper, one of only three Hungarians drafted by a National Hockey League team, made 26 saves to deny Belarus, boasting only one of their Olympic heroes in an experimental squad, a more emphatic victory.


Schedule:

Friday 30 August:
Belarus 2-1 Hungary 1500BST
GB 4-4 Slovenia 1900BST

Saturday 31 August:
Slovenia Vs Hungary 1430BST
Belarus Vs GB 1830BST

Sunday 1 September:
Slovenia Vs Belarus 1430BST
Hungary Vs GB 1830BST

See also:

29 Aug 02 | Other Sports
Links to more Other Sports stories are at the foot of the page.


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