Great Britain and Cardiff Devils netminder Ben Bowns. Pic: Richard Murray
Ben Bowns is fit and ready to play for Great Britain in the World Champions.
Cardiff Devils netminder Bowns suffered an ankle injury and was limping after the Elite League play-off final against Sheffield Steelers.
He delayed linking up with the GB team to have treatment and missed both warm-up matches against Poland.
Now he’s ready for action and joins Belfast’s Stephen Murphy in a battle to be starting goalie against Croatia on Sunday.
Bowns reckons GB are involved in a tougher group this year, but believes it can only be a good thing.
“It was nice to have a week off and recover, but it gave me a chance to reset and get fitter,” he said.
“As a team, we’ve learned from what’s happened in the last two years. There is enough experience in the room and it still burns that we’ve come up short.
“It’s a tough group we are in for sure and I think it’s a better group than we’ve had in the past two years, but that can only be good for us and ensure sure we work to win that gold this time.
“Playing in front of your own fans can add more pressure certainly, but you want to win in front of everyone and when you get to the end of the week, they can give that little push you need.”
Forward Robert Lachowicz says the Great Britain squad are excited to get started on Belfast ice after arriving ready for today’s first training session at The SSE Arena. The players have had a training camp in Coventry and Milton Keynes.
“It feels real now we have arrived in Belfast and we can’t wait to get under way,” said Lachowicz.
“The hotel is nice, has fantastic facilities and we are close to the rink, which is good.
“Any World Championship is special, but playing on home ice will make it something I am sure we won’t forget.
“We have come so close to promotion in the last couple of years and we want to go one better.
“It won’t be easy as there are five other great teams in this group, but we know we have the talent in the squad.
“We have a strong roster and some top-class players have not made the squad, which shows the depth we have.
“We are all honoured to be part of this roster and want to do the country proud.”
Britain begin their 2017 World Championship Division One B campaign when they take on Croatia on Sunday (4pm) with the tournament continuing throughout the week.
Netminders: Ben Bowns (Cardiff Devils), Stephen Murphy (Belfast Giants), Thomas Murdy (Cardiff Devils, reserve).
Defence: Mark Garside (Belfast Giants), Steve Lee (Nottingham Panthers), Ben O’Connor (Sheffield Steelers), David Phillips (Sheffield Steelers), Mark Richardson (Cardiff Devils), Paul Swindlehurst (Manchester Storm), Jonathan Weaver (Telford Tigers).
Forwards: Brendan Brooks (Fife Flyers), David Clarke (Nottingham Panthers), Russell Cowley (Coventry Blaze), Robert Dowd (Sheffield Steelers), Sam Duggan (Orebro, Sweden), Robert Farmer (Nottingham Panthers), Robert Lachowicz (Nottingham Panthers), Evan Mosey (Rockford Ice Hogs, USA), Matthew Myers (Cardiff Devils), Craig Peacock (Braehead Clan), Jonathan Phillips (Sheffield Steelers), Colin Shields (Belfast Giants), Liam Stewart (Coventry Blaze).
World Championship fixtures in Belfast:
Sunday, April 23: 12.30pm Netherlands v Japan; 4pm GB v Croatia; 7.30pm Estonia v Lithuania.
Monday, April 24: 12.30pm Japan v Croatia; 4pm Lithuania v Netherlands; 7.30pm GB v Estonia.
Wednesday, April 26: 12.30pm Japan v Estonia; 4pm Netherlands v Croatia; 7.30pm GB v Lithuania.
Friday, April 28: 12.30pm Lithuania v Japan, 4pm Croatia v Estonia; 7.30pm.
Saturday, April 29: 12.30pm Lithuania v Croatia; 4pm Estonia v Netherlands; 7.30pm GB v Japan.
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