GB Women U18 beat China to set up final-day medal chance

Great Britain Women U18 set up a bronze-medal opportunity at the World Championship (Division 1B) tournament as they beat China 1-0 in Dumfries.

Netminder Ella Howard secured her second successive shut-out making 19 saves, while Ellie Wakeling scored the only goal of the game.

A regulation-time victory for GB against Netherlands on Saturday will guarantee the bronze medal.

The opening stages of the first period saw few clear-cut chances, but Aimee Headland went close for GB.

Howard, who secured a 48-shot shutout in Wednesday’s penalty-shot victory over Norway, turned away nine efforts from China.

In the second session, Chloe Headland hit the post just after a British powerplay had come to an end, while a fantastic pass from Lucy Beal set up Emily Harris but she was stopped at close range by Jiang Han.

GB went ahead in the 35th minute when Amiee Headland produced a great piece of skill but was denied on the wraparound, before Wakeling popped in the rebound.

Grace Garbett and Chloe Headland had good chances in the third period to add to GB’s one-goal advantage.

Meanwhile, Howard continued to stand firm in the GB goal and make a number of excellent saves, including denying Zhu Junfei from point-blank range.

Lizzie Saunders hit the pipes with three minutes remaining and GB held on for their second victory of the tournament.

Head coach, Cheryl Smith, said: “We had to really work hard for this one and the pleasing thing was we found a way to win.

“China have got stronger the longer the tournament has gone on and they gave us some problems. But Ella Howard had another great game and we stuck at it to get a very important victory.

“It is exciting to be playing for a medal again and now we must keep the girls grounded and go again against Netherlands.”

In Friday’s other games, France beat Netherlands 3-0 to keep their 100% record, while there was a 5-2 victory for Norway over Poland.

Norway and France will meet tomorrow in the gold-medal decider while Poland, who still have a chance of the bronze, play China.

The tournament’s final game sees GB face Netherlands, who have already been relegated.

(Image permission: Karl Denham)