PyeongChang 2018: British ice hockey make winning start in Olympic bid

GB Netherlands HL

Great Britain began their attempt to qualify for the 2018 Winter Olympics with a 6-5 victory over Netherlands in Group G of pre-qualifying in Cortina.

Defenceman Mark Richardson scored the winner when he netted from his own rebound on 55 minutes.

GB have not qualified for the Olympics since 1948, when they were fifth.

They still have to face Serbia and hosts Italy, with only the group winners progressing to the final stage of qualifying in September.

Britain fell behind in only the third minute of Thursday's game, against the team relegated from Division 1B of the World Championship last year.

But Russ Cowley levelled just 38 seconds later and David Phillips put GB ahead inside the first period.

Matthew Myers gave the team a two-goal cushion but Netherlands equalised with two goals in 55 seconds.

Cowley tapped in his second of the match before Colin Shields netted his 33rd international goal, but Netherlands twice levelled before Richardson's winner.

"I hear people say that GB struggle to score goals, but here we proved we can score and score at important times," said coach Pete Russell.

Meanwhile, GB's women beat Netherlands 3-0 in Sheffield with Chrissy Newman, captain Katie Henry and Georgina Farman scoring the goals.

The teams meet again at the same venue on Friday in the second of two challenge games before Britain feature in World Championship Division II in Slovenia in April.