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SWINDON WILDCATS: Swindlehurst eyes GB glory
PAUL Swindlehurst is hoping to recreate former glories with Great Britain Under 20s when the national side begin their World Championship (Division 1B) campaign on Monday.
The Blackrod-born D-man won a bronze medal with GB in Division 1A in 2010, under the management of former Wildcats head coach Pete Russell.
GB have since been relegated from that level after a disappointing campaign last year, and now find themselves pitted against tough competition in hosts Ukraine, Croatia, Italy, Kazakhstan and Poland this time around.
However, 19-year-old Swindlehurst believes a top-three finish is a realistic possibility.
“I think if we play our game, stick with each other, are strong defensively and our goalies do well then we have a chance of a medal,” he said.
“If we pull together we can get a bronze medal like we did in Belarus after we were written off.
“Being the underdog is the best position to be in because everyone’s expecting you to fail.
“Ukraine and Poland will be up there but Italy are a really fast team and although I’ve never played against Croatia, they seem like a really good team as well.”
The Swindon man says GB’s team spirit could be a key component of any success they have in Donetsk next week.
“Everybody gets on and if you don’t then you find a way to get on. If you’re not a team over there then they will find you out.,” he said.
“That’s the good thing about Great Britain, everyone comes together as a team.
“The players play against each other week in, week out but as soon as you come into the same team, everyone’s a unit and everyone’s fighting for each other.
“Because we’ve all grown up together and are the same age we know what each other’s strengths and weaknesses are.”
Great Britain open their campaign against Ukraine at Ice Palace Druzhba on Monday, where all the tournament matches will be held.
Andre Payette’s troops were due to play Manchester Phoenix in a warm-up match last night.