Scottish-trained girls make their mark as GB end Dumfries tournament on a high

Great Britain Women U18 won the bronze medal at the World Championship (Division 1B) tournament in Dumfries after a final-day 4-2 victory over Netherlands.

Netminder Ella Howard saved 22 of the 24 shots she faced to cap a memorable week as she was named as GB’s player of the tournament.

The GB squad had a strong Scottish influence, with Megan Gourlay, Sophie Campbell and Audrey Wood all currently progressing through the SIH junior system.

They were joined in the squad by Scottish-trained trio Kaitlyn Morrison, Aimee Headland and Chloe Headland, all of whom have moved on to play in North America.

The latter duo were prominent during the first period, with both players going close to opening the scoring.

Despite already being relegated Netherlands looked lively, but GB eventually went in front after 24 minutes when Campbell put home a rebound after a goalmouth scramble on a delayed penalty.

Britain came close to a second as great skill from Lucy Beal set up Lizzie Saunders, but Eline Gabriele produced a fantastic save from point-blank range.

Netherlands equalised in the 41st minute when Esther de Jong’s perfect pass sent free Kimberly Collard, who fired top shelf.

Two goals in a little over two minutes won it for GB as they claimed their first women’s U18 medal since 2013.

Verity Lewis fired one from the blueline on the powerplay that netminder Gabriele couldn’t hold after 51 minutes, while Chloe Headland scored a stunning individual goal, beating three players before firing home two minutes later.

She netted her second with a deflected shot in the 57th minute, before Netherlands scored a consolation in the final minute though Fleur Kivits.

Head coach, Cheryl Smith, said: We have been so close a couple of times in the last few years, so this is a special moment.

“This has been a fantastic set of players to work with and I am so proud of them.

“Winning a bronze medal on home ice is obviously fantastic, but I am also proud of the way they responded to the coaching staff’s instructions throughout the week.

“We had a shaky start but they came back strong and the win over Norway gave them so much belief.

“There is so much talent in the women’s programme and we are excited about the future.”

France won the gold medal and promotion to Division 1A despite a penalty-shot defeat by Norway, who claimed the silver.

Poland completed their campaign as they came from behind to beat China 4-2 to secure fourth place in the standings.

(Image permission: Jamie Kerr)