Ben Bowns: GB goaltender enjoying World Championship test
Goaltender Ben Bowns has enhanced his reputation at the World Championship, despite Great Britain's torrid return to ice hockey's elite after 25 years.
The 28-year-old Cardiff Devil has been praised despite GB losing all four games so far, including 8-0 and 9-0 hammerings by Canada and Denmark.
But GB earned praise, and restored some morale, in a 6-3 loss to a star-studded USA, with Bowns man of the match.
"It was fun, it was a shame we couldn't pick something up," Bowns said.
"There were a couple of goals where we cost ourselves.
"If we cut those out and the two power-play goals against us then it's a one-goal game and anything can happen... we're not quite there."
Bowns was voted his team's top performer for an impressive 59 saves against a USA side boasting the likes of Chicago Blackhawks star forward Patrick Kane, who led the American offence with a goal and two assists to become his country's tournament leading points scorer.
The goalie admits the chance to test himself against a side studded with NHL talent is one of his career highlights so far.
"As a kid you always want to make the NHL but you get a bit older and you realise one you're British, and two you're probably not going to make it," he said.
"But I never thought I'd make it to this level, so to get to play here against the likes of these players, the teams that are here, and put in a good performance then it means a hell of a lot."
Despite earning a standing ovation from fans and both sets of players, Bowns said he owed GB that performance after their previous defeat.
"The guys needed me against Denmark and the last two goals I conceded just weren't good enough, I didn't give them the support I'd been giving them in the games before and after that it went downhill and ended up pretty embarrassing for us," he admitted.
"Not one of us played well, myself right at the top of that list, so it was important for me to bounce back and more importantly for the team to bounce back."
GB's remaining fixtures are against Finland, hosts Slovakia and France, with GB needing to avoid finishing bottom of their eight-team group if they are not to be relegated to Division 1A in 2020.
Finland, boasting the likes of forward Kaapo Kakko - tipped to be one of the most in demand players at the 2019 NHL Draft - should be too strong for GB on Friday night, with realistic points more likely to come in their final two games in Kosice.
"Hopefully they'll be worried. We can beat France but we can also beat Slovakia if we want to," Bowns said.
"If we bring our 'A' game then we're going to be alright. We want to win against France but we've got two more games before that that we've got to focus on.
"Last year when we got promoted we knew we could compete, we beat teams who have been up and down at this level for years.
"So we can compete and we can easily stay up, but we've got to play the full 60 minutes."
Great Britain will be without Bowns' Devils team-mate Matthew Myers for Friday's clash with Finland.
The power forward has a foot injury and will be replaced by fellow Welshman Joey Lewis, who will make his full international debut.
Lewis was born and raised in Newport but plays professionally for second division German hockey side ESV Kaufbeuren.
World Championship schedule
11 May: GB 1-3 Germany
12 May: GB 0-8 Canada
14 May: GB 0-9 Denmark
15 May: GB 3-6 USA
17 May: GB v Finland
18 May: Slovakia v GB
20 May: GB v France