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Great Britain secured their first win over Slovenia in almost a decade, today’s 2-1 win in Riga setting up a medal opportunity on Saturday’s final day.

GB dominated the first period with a remarkable 30 shots on goal but Slovenia’s Pia Dukaric – who plays for Yale University in the top NCAA division – was equal to everything. At the other end Nicole Jackson made ten saves while all GB lines threatened in wave after wave of attack.

The middle period saw Slovenia open the scoring against the run of play. Arch nemesis Sara Confidenti and Pia Pren combined on a two on two breakout and Pren netted past Jackson at 27.08 for the opener.

GB’s response came just over a minute later. Katherine Gale lead the zone entry and her drop pass for Aimee Headland and Rachel Cartwright saw another Dukaric save but Gale was on hand to pot the rebound and level the game at 28.17.

Britain continued the offensive, putting up 49 shots through 40 minutes of play but had to settle for a 1-1 scoreline at the second break.

The two teams traded powerplay chances to open the third period without finding the net but on the next player advantage Great Britain sniped the game-winner.

Winning the puck down low, Laura Horwood had a chance at the top of the crease but instead kicked it to Jodie Alderson-Smith in the slot and the GB captain picked the top right corner at 50.40 and GB were ahead.

In traditional GB style the final minutes were not without drama – penalties on Aimee Headland and Beth Hill plus an extra attacker with Dukaric on the bench gave Slovenia a six on four advantage for the last minute but determined defence and Nicole Jackson, who finished with 25 saves, held firm and the players, staff and sizeable GB Barmy Army celebrated at the final buzzer.

Laura Horwood was named GB’s player of the game, Pia Dukaric with a remarkable 68 saves got the nod for Slovenia.

After the game head coach Mike Clancy said: “The team have hit the targets we’ve set and are deservedly playing for a medal tomorrow. They were determined and patient when their goalie was making a lot of saves.

“The atmosphere of a full rink with noisy home fans playing for a medal is exactly the kind of experience we need for the team to get where we want to be.

“We will enjoy tonight but we will be ready and can’t wait for Saturday night to arrive.”

Great Britain are playing the final game of the day on Saturday facing off against Latvia at 7.30pm local time, 5.30pm UK.

Women’s World Championship Division I Group B – Great Britain results & schedule 
Sunday 31st March: Great Britain v Italy – W 1-0 (Alderson-Smith 1+0, Marsden & Horwood 0+1; Jackson 44 saves)
Monday 1st April: Poland v Great Britain – L 2-3 (OT) (Sylvester & Horwood 1+0, Headland, Gale, Alderson-Smith 0+1; Jackson 26 saves)
Wednesday 3rd April: Slovakia v Great Britain – L 1-7 (Marsden 1+0, Sylvester & Harris 0+1; Jackson 39 saves)
Friday 5th April: Slovenia v Great Britain – W 2-1 (Gale, Alderson-Smith 1+0; Horwood and Headland 0+1; Jackson 25 saves)
Saturday 6th April: Great Britain v Latvia – 19:30 (17:30)

Photo credit: Karl Denham