Team GB 14 - 0 Netherlands
By Victoria Steveley
Belfast Giants forward Colin Shields bagged a hat-trick and smashed the Team GB all-time goal-scoring record as the side won out 14-0 over the Netherlands on Friday.
There was a standing ovation for Shields after he scored his 41st international career goal at the SSE Arena, but before that he opened the scoring for GB inside the first five minutes.
Within seconds, an unassisted Jonathan Phillips effort then doubled their tally.
And less than two minutes before the break, Samuel Duggan scored on his debut from a Robert Lachowicz assist to make it 3-0.
The Netherlands have had a difficult tournament, failing to win a single game, but there was no let up from GB.
The goal rush continued in the second period while the home netminder, Belfast Giants veteran Stephen Murphy, remained largely untested.
Less than two minutes after the first break, Brendan Brooks made it 4-0 – although Team GB did give up a bench penalty a short time later, with David Clarke sitting for too many men.
Former Giant Craig Peacock, who signed for Braehead Clan after leaving Belfast, scored just over midway through the second period to extend GB’s lead to 5-0.
And there was another quick follow-up when Lachowicz found the net.
Then came Shields’ second goal of the night – and 40th of his international career, tying the all-time record set by the great Tony Hand.
With the Netherlands trailing 7-0, they pulled netminder Sjoerd Idzenga and swapped in Fabian Schotel, but to little immediate effect.
Duggan fired the puck past him barely a minute later for his second of the game to make it 8-0 going into the final period.
In that third period, goals from Liam Stewart and Robert Dowd took GB into double figures without reply from their opponents.
Then the record-breaker for Shields made it 11-0 and GB rounded things off with more goals from Matthew Myers, Brooks and Dowd to take the huge 14-0 win.
That sets the unbeaten hosts up with a winner-takes-all game against also defeated Japan on Saturday, as they both battle for the gold medal and promotion to Division 1A.
After the game, Shields was presented with the Man of the Match award by none other than Tony Hand himself.
"He said congrats and well done," Shields said, reflecting on his record-breaking moment.
"I've known Tony I think since I was 13 or 14-years-old and I watchd him play when I was growing up and I've played with him in the national team - he's a gentleman and wished me all the best.
"It was a special moment - I live in Belfast, that's my home, so it was special to do it here and have Giants fans as well as GB fans here.
"And to have Tony here too, it's an honour."
Meanwhile, GB head coach Pete Russell was pleased to get the comprehensive win ahead of Saturday's big final game against Japan.
He knows that will be a tougher test of his side, but is hoping it is a case of third time lucky after they won silver medals in their last two tournaments.
"We just have to be better than them in every department," Russell said.
"We have to out-skate them, we have to out-compete them and we have to be smart away from the puck ... It'll be a good game, I think."
Team GB take on Japan in the final game of the tournament on Saturday, with face-off at the SSE Arena at 7.30pm.