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Olympic heartache for Owen and Lyle
BASINGSTOKE Bison players Stevie Lyle and Greg Owen were unable to help Great Britain make next year's Winter Olympics.
GB lost all three qualifying games in Riga, Latvia, and will not compete at the 2014 games in Russia.
Netminder Lyle played in goal for the first two games which saw GB beaten 6-2 by the hosts and 4-2 against France.
Hull goalie Ben Bowns played in the last game which saw GB lose 6-0 to Kazakhstan.
In the first game last Thursday, GB had an early chance through Nottingham’s David Clarke before hosts Latvia scored through Gints Meija (2:57).
GB hit back only 61 seconds later as Belfast’s Colin Shields fed Robert Dowd in the slot, who fired low into the net.
Latvia’s second came on the powerplay when Miks Indrasis fired high past Lyle at the back door for a 2-1 first period lead.
Lyle had to be at his best six minutes into the second period to pull off a double save from Janis Sprukts.
Two successive penalties put GB under pressure and Latvia scored on the second of these from Oskars Bartilis.
Latvia scored twice in the final period from Ronalds Kenins and Georgijs Pujacs.
Former Bison Ben O’Connor shaved the base of the post, before GB scored their second on the powerplay through Craig Peacock.
Latvia wrapped up the scoring 18 seconds from time with another powerplay goal as Lyle faced 39 shots In the French game the following day, Laurent Meunier, Pierre Edouard Bellemare and Damien Fleury gave France a 3-0 lead after two periods.
A goalmouth scramble in front of the French net saw Peacock stab the puck home (43:54).
GB grew in confidence and it was no surprise when they scored a second at 51:36 from Rob Lachowicz.
But only two minutes later France scored through Charles Bertrand.
Great Britain’s final game yesterday against Kazakhstan got off to the worst possible start for Bowns as Roman Starchenko scored after 30 seconds and Konstantin Romanov made it 2-0 in the third minute.
GB then conceded four more goals in the middle session.