Dowdy Speaks from the World Championships

Watch and listen to the Steelers captain

The fifth game for Great Britain at the 2024 IIHF World Championship saw them defeated by the hosts Czechia in what was another spirited performance from Pete Russell’s side.

Sam Jones returned to the 22-player gameday roster, joining captain Robert Dowd whilst Cole Shudra was rested, taking a seat in the stands.

The hosts took an early lead scoring two goals inside the opening five minutes, adding another to the tally 36 seconds into the second period, but a powerplay for Great Britain a minute later saw them reduce the deficit to one.

Sheffield Steelers and Great Britain captain Robert Dowd said after the game: “It was a good game. Obviously they came out really hard, and they’re a very very obviously talented team.

“They took a lead pretty early so to recover from that and turn it into a pretty good game, I thought it was big strides for us. I thought we grew as the game went on.

After shutout defeats to Finland and Switzerland, scoring against Denmark and Czechia can only be seen as a positive for Great Britain who have the talent up front to cause danger.

“It was huge [for] the powerplay to grab another one. Obviously, special teams in this tournament is a massive thing and our penalty kill has been doing a great job for us this tournament, so the powerplay to start clicking at the right time is really good,” said Dowd.

Czechia restored their three-goal advantage before the end of the second period with a goalless final third bringing the game to an end 4-1 in favour of the hosts, but the captain noted the positives to take from the game with Ben Bowns in between the pipes for Great Britain making 41 saves on the night: “I thought we were defensively solid tonight. We were a bit slow at the start – the first five minutes of the first two periods, but if you take those ten minutes out the whole game, I thought we were pretty solid.”

Czechia have been involved in some high scoring games this tournament with a 6-3 win over Norway and a 7-4 win over Denmark, proving how clinical their offensive outfit is, and so conceding four goals from 45 shots is something worthy of praise.

“Defensively, like you said, only conceding four to a team like Czech who have scored a lot of goals against some very good teams in this tournament, I think we can look at that as a positive,” said the 35-year-old. “Going into these last two games, if we can hold teams to not so many goals and try and pop a few ourselves, we’ve got ourselves a good chance.”

There are only two games left for GB at the 2024 World Championship: Norway and Austria. A win over Norway on Monday would secure their survival in the top flight.

Dowd said: “I think we need to try and put a complete 60 together against the last two teams here. If we put a complete 60 together like we’ve played that last 20 minutes, I think we’re in a great chance with both of those games.”

It would be the perfect end to what has been an incredibly successful season for the right-handed forward from Billingham if Great Britain could retain their place at the highest level of international level.

Not only has he lifted three trophies in his first season as captain of the Steelers, but in his first year of captaincy at Great Britain, he has led the team to the final round of Olympic Qualification games set to be played in August in Denmark.

“[It’s] an honour and a privilege to captain those boys in that room. That room’s full of leaders, so it’s an easy job for me,” he said. “It’s a real honour for me personally.”

Pete Russell’s side face Norway at 3:20pm UK time on Monday before the final game on Tuesday sees them take on Austria, 11:20am UK time.