SHEFFIELD STEELERS: Grounds for optimism from GB hero

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Sheffield Steelers new forward Colin Shields says winning a medal at this year’s World Championship (Division 1A) would be a “fantastic achievement” for Great Britain.

The new format of this year’s tournament has pitted GB against two of last year’s Pool A nations and they suffered defeat in their opening games to both sides; Slovenia (3-2) and Austria (7-3).

After yesterday’s rest day, GB return to action today with a match against Ukraine and end the tournament with fixtures against Japan tomorrow and Hungary on Saturday.

Shields, who is the leading points-scorer in the whole tournament with five points, said: “We’re all still very confident of winning our remaining three matches and taking a medal home from the tournament. This has been the toughest test for us in a long time and we know we have to do better.

“Winning a medal here would be a fantastic achievement. There are six top-class teams on show and it would be brilliant to go home with a medal.

“Those first two games have given us a benchmark of how good we have to be to become a Pool A nation in the future.”

Shields is playing is his 10th senior World Championship and is on course for his best-ever points-haul in the yearly international tournament.

The Glasgow-born forward, who has three goals to his name in the competition this year, added: “We ran Slovenia so close and matched Austria at times, so there is plenty of optimism.

“The boys are having fun and working hard and we can’t wait to get back on the ice on Wednesday.

“Our task won’t get easier in the next three games but we are fully-committed and focused and I am sure we can return to winning ways.”