RESULT: HUNGARY 2 GREAT BRITAIN 3 (AFTER PENALTY SHOTS)
Robert Farmer’s equalising goal with 16 seconds left on the clock secured Great Britain a gold medal and promotion to the top flight after a dramatic final game against hosts Hungary.
Pete Russell’s team secured victory in overtime, but the point needed in regulation time was enough to get them over the line and secure a place in next year’s competition in Slovakia.
The tension was unbearable and for a large part of the game, it appeared Hungary, boosted by their noisy crowd would do enough to spoil the hopes of any party for the ‘Barmy Army.’
Needless to say, it was the home team who opened the scoring with three and a half minutes on the clock when Christopher Bodo netted on the rebound.
Netminder Ben Bowns had another amazing night between the pipes and made a terrific first period save from Balazs Sebok, sliding across the crease to deny the home forward.
GB had plenty of chances in the second to tie the game, but found themselves continually blocked by Hungary goalie Adam Vay, who looked every bit up for the challenge.
The hosts doubled their lead early in the third when Csanad Erdely got the final touch just in front of the GB net.
The tension was increased as the referee took his time in using the video review system and ruled in favour of the Hungarians.
GB were far from beaten despite this setback and while there were chances at both ends, Hungary remained resilient.
Finally, the breakthrough came.
Robert Dowd was in possession of the puck, turned and fired low through traffic to get GB on the board and get both their gold medal and promotion hopes back on track.
The home side were awarded a penalty shot with three minutes to go when Robert Farmer was punished for a hook, adding to the unbearable tension even more.
GB needed a hero when Janos Hari prepared to take it. That hero was Bowns, who pulled off a pad save to keep Russell’s men in it.
The seconds ticked down, but the Brits were relentless. Just one goal was needed as Bowns was pulled in the final minute. GB were going all or nothing.
Farmer moved the puck from the left, played a shot across that managed to sneak under Vay. The arena held its breath. Then erupted. Great Britain had done it.
The remaining seconds ticked down and celebrations commenced. In among the joy on the GB players’ faces, they forgot they had a game to finish.
Overtime came and went followed by penalty shots, where Farmer and Ben O’Connor converted theirs, which proved enough.
Then a night of celebration in Budapest commenced, safe in the knowledge it’s either Bratislava or Kosice next as GB join the big boys in a year’s time.
Coach Pete Russell summed up his delight post match.
PHOTO: Ice Hockey UK