MILTON Keynes ice hockey star Leigh Jamieson was involved in Great Britain’s first Olympic qualifying match against Korea on Friday, but unfortunately couldn’t prevent an agonising defeat.
The 27-year-old Lightning forward was one of only two players from the English Premier League – the second tier of British ice hockey – to make the 20-man squad for the 2014 Winter Olympics pre-qualifying tournament in Japan.
Unfortunately their first match in the four-team grouped ended with a 5-4 defeat to Korea after penalties and they now face an uphill battle to qualify.
Great Britain were leading 3-1 after the first period thanks to goals from Belfast Giants’ Craig Peacock, David Longstaff of Guildford Flames and Ben O’Connor, who plays his hockey in Kazakhstan.
A second period goal from Sheffield Steelers’ Colin Shields made it 4-2, but Korea fought back and drew level in the third period to force overtime.
With neither side able to find the net again, missed penalty shots from Sheilds and Longstaff cost Great Britain as they take one point from the game and Korea two.
Next up for Jamieson and company are Romania on Saturday (5am UK time) followed by Japan on Sunday. Only the group winners will progress through to the final qualifying tournament in February in a bid to reach Sochi 2014.
Head coach Tony Hand said: “We started brilliantly and got a great start with some great goals. But Korea never gave up and are a very dangerous team. I thought we took it to them in the third period and were unlucky not to score.
“The guys played their hearts out and everyone back home should be very proud of them. We had chances to win it in overtime but it was not to be. I’m very proud of them and we’re still very much alive in this tournament.”
Victory for Great Britain against Romania, and a win for the hosts over Korea, would mean a winners-takes-all clash between GB and Japan on Sunday.