Ice Hockey - Team GB top qualification group

Tony Hand's side saw off hosts Japan 2-1 to top Group J in the pre-Winter Olympics Games qualifying tournament.

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Great Britain's ice hockey team celebrate (Imago)

The result sees Team GB go through to the final qualification rounds next February as they topped Group J with a 2-1 win over the hosts.

Having lost their first group match on penalties to South Korea, wins against Romania and then Japan were enough to turn the tables on their Group rivals.

And on Sunday the heroes were Craig Peacock and Ben O'Connor who both scored early on to put the Brits in control.

Shuhei Kuji did manage to pull a goal back for Japan late on and it took a backs-to-the-wall defensive display in the closing stages to seal Great Britain's win.

Tony Hand's troops will in all likelihood head to Germany for the final qualifying tournament for the Games although they could still head to Denmark or Latvia, depending on other results.

"This is a huge moment in the history of British ice hockey," said Hand. "I am so proud of every one of these guys and so should everyone back home be.

"We have proved we can compete at this level and now we want to prove we can compete at a higher level. Every single guy played their heart out and we did this with talent and determination.

"No one should underestimate how much this means to British ice hockey. It is massive.

"We are one step away from Sochi 2014 and now get to test ourselves against some of the world's best hockey nations."

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