It’s a good time to be a goalie playing in Cardiff it seems. Ben Bowns of the Cardiff Devils is the undisputed number one goalie for Great Britain’s senior team, Cardiff Fire goalie Jordan Lawday has recently featured for GB Under 20s and now Cardiff Fire 1 and 2 goalie Lewis Davies joins the list of goalies in Cardiff representing their country.
17-year-old Davies is in Talin, Estonia right now preparing for the 2018 Under 18 World Championships Division 2A which begins on Sunday.
Great Britain take on the hosts Estonia, Poland, Lithuania, Australia and South Korea in the week long tournament. The winners of the group will gain promotion to Division 1B while the bottom place side will fall to Division 2B.
GB Under 18s have been in Division 2A since it began in 2012, win their best finish coming in 2015 with a Bronze medal, but they’ll have their eyes set on promotion this year.
“I think with the high level experience we have in the team there’s a lot of expectation within the team.” Davies explained as the team arrived in Estonia.
“We’re not really focusing on the end product at the moment, just taking every training session and game as it comes.
“Of course the goal is to bring back gold and I’ve got every confidence in the team to do just that.”
The Polish Under 18 side come into the tournament just a year after they were relegated from Division 1B, so it’s expected that they’ll be one of the top teams in this tournament.
“Obviously coming into the tournament Poland are the top seed, but to us the seeding really doesn’t matter.
“We’re at the tournament to play our game and dictate games rather than worry about what other teams are doing.
“We’re confident in our ability to turn over any team we come up against. We have a warm up game against Estonia and Poland in the coming days so we will be able to send a message early on.”
Great Britain took on Estonia on Friday night were they fell 4 – 3 in penalty shots, and they open their tournament on Sunday against the same opponents.
“Personal preparation has been going great, one of the most important parts of going to a tournament is the preparation.
“The team have gelled together well in the few days we’ve been at the training camp, a lot of us have played together or against each other since we were a lot younger so we’re all good mates which helps on the ice.”
The Under 18 side will be led by Sheffield Steelers forward Liam Kirk who will be the captain, while Jordan Buesa of the Braehead Clan and Ben Solder who plays for the Ontario Hockey Academy in Canada will both be the Alternate captains.
While Davies is expected to be the starter, he’ll be partnered by William Kerlin who players for the Onatrio Hockey Academy in Canada’s Under 17 side.
Away from representing GB, Davies has had a testing year playing for both the Cardiff Fire first and second team this year, initially joining to serve as the second team goalie, early season injuries saw him thrown into the deep end in the second division of hockey in the UK.
“This year has been a massive learning curve for me. From playing u18’s to signing a 2-way between NIHL & NIHL2 was something that I felt was the right move as I would still be getting ice time but getting the experience of training with at a high with the Fire 1 team.
“Getting my first senior start at NIHL level wasn’t easy, especially with 5 minutes to get changed and a 10 minute warm up. I feel like I’ve improved a lot through the year with training with some great players.”
Despite playing in a league many would think a 17-year-old goaltender would be a few years away from being anything more than a backup in, Davies showed his potential in the games he was called on to ice in, until the arrival of the teams new goalie Jordan Lawday, with the Fire being able to boast they have two of the most promising prospect goalies in the U.K.
“Obviously the aim now is to make it to the elite league and at some point win the league.
“From a young age I’ve watched the devils and the elite league so it’s been a dream growing up.”
Davies and the rest of GB will be looking to bring home a medal at least to continue a decent run of form in the GB set up. Last April the senior team won their Division, while in December the Under 20s side claimed the Bronze medal.
With the side led by one of the best British players of all time in Tony Hand, they’ll also be available to watch on Freesports, the same TV channel that showed the Under 20s side in December.