Katie Henry’s penalty shot goal on 49.00 and a 14-save shutout from Nicole Jackson were the springboard for Great Britain’s opening day win in their Division 1 Group B tournament in Suwon, South Korea.
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Despite icing four rookies, GB were in control from the first puck drop and only a stellar effort from Arina Chshyokolova in the Kazakh net (33 saves) prevented a bigger score.
GB’s fast attacking style caused problems from early on as Emily Harris and Jodie Alderson-Smith went close before Britain had to kill a short five on three.
A scoreless first period had GB holding a 10-6 advantage in the shot count, something repeated in the middle frame which saw each side have one powerplay each.
Into the final frame and Great Britain’s intensity increased, only to be denied time and again by the Kazakh stopper, their eventual player of the game. Midway through the period a sustained spell of pressure around the Kazakhstan net saw Chshyolokova unable to hold puck, and with GB forwards around the blue paint a defender covered the puck and referee-on-the-spot Marie Picavet signalled for a penalty shot.
Katie Henry – closing in on the record for appearances by a GB player – stepped up and skating at pace stick handled backhand and forehand before finding the twine high to the goalie’s left and opening GB’s account for the tournament.
Rachel Cartwright had a chance immediately afterwards but the goalie just did enough.
Finally in the dying moments it was goalscorer Henry diving full-length in front of a blueline shot, the puck was cleared and GB’s first foray in Division 1 for ten years was off with a win.
It was also a first win in four attempts against Kazakhstan, who had triumphed in two Worlds and an Olympic qualifier previously.
Katie Marsden was named GB’s best player in the post-game awards.
The second game of the week is against Italy on Tuesday, face off 3.45pm local time, that’s 7.45am UK time.
Coach Mike Clancy said afterwards: “We did everything we’d practiced and stuck to the plan from start to finish. There could have been more goals but I’ll take a 1-0 to start a World Championship.
“It’s a start, sets us up for the week and we can now go back to the hotel and work on Italy tomorrow.”
Great Britain Women’s World Championship Schedule
Monday April 17 – Great Britain 1-0 Kazakhstan (Katie Henry)
Tuesday April 18 – Italy v Great Britain
Wednesday April 19 – Rest day
Thursday April 20 – Poland v Great Britain
Friday April 21 – Rest day
Saturday April 22 – Korea v Great Britain
Sunday April 23 – Great Britain v Slovenia
Photo credit: Karl Denham