Cardiff Devils coach Andrew Lord was left to ponder what might have been as his team exited the Champions Hockey League.
CHL holders Frolunda Indians took a 9-2 result away from South Wales to book their place in the last 16, with Mountfield also joining them in the knockout phases.
And it left Lord disappointed that their efforts in the competition had delivered nothing in terms of progression from the group stage.
“Gut wrenching is a good word for it and it’s real painful for us,” Lord said. “The work the boys put in for the last couple of months, we were real close.
“Although the scoreline looks really bad, we were right in there for the first couple of periods, but a couple of missed assignments and they punished us.
“I’ve never come up against a team like that with such firepower. Give them a couple of inches and they’ll put it away, but hats off to them, they ramped it up another notch in the third.
“Those three wins were huge for us and we’ve played a lot of great hockey in this tournament.”
Belfast Giants also bowed out of the competition as they travelled to take on Lulea in Sweden and were shutout in a 4-0 defeat.
Giants’ involvement in the tournament was already confirmed as they looked to finish with a flurry, but coach Adam Keefe remained pleased with his team.
“We were up against a very good team and the tempo was high for our third game in four nights and I thought we lacked some legs especially trying to keep up with the pace of a team like Lulea,” he said.
“We were outmatched and did our best to compete. I’m proud of the guys despite the tempo being a little high for us and we looked gassed out and struggled to gain any momentum offensively, especially in the third.
“To keep them to four, with two powerplay goals, we can take some positives away from that. There were games we were in looking back on the tournament as a whole.
“It was a good first outing and I think we learned a lot of things in this competition. We certainly hope to be back and build on what we did this year.”