GREAT BRITAIN 4 HUNGARY 1
Great Britain are out of the Winter Olympics after a 4-1 defeat to Hungary in their final game of qualifying saw the Hungarians progress at their expense.
In the end, it wasn’t to be after encouraging victories over Romania and Estonia in previous games, but Pete Russell’s men came up short at the Motorpoint Arena.
Ross Venus got the first chance of the night, testing Hungarian netminder Miklos Rajna with a backhanded effort, but Rajna covered well to set the tone.
GB were unlucky as Jonathan Phillips was denied by a pad save by Rajna, who showed great speed and threat to create the chance for himself, but it wasn’t to be.
There was plenty of pressure from Pete Russell’s side for much of the first period, but couldn’t find a way through in the first period.
The middle session was only 32 seconds old when Janos Hari and Gergo Nagy combined to set up Bence Stipsicz, who rifled one in from the high slot to beat Ben Bowns in GB’s goal.
Scott Conway was denied by the goal frame with eight minutes played of the second as GB broke and caught the Hungarians out, but the shot just wouldn’t go in.
The second goal came for Hungary after 31 minutes as Csanad Erdely got one in from the top fo the crease, but Bowns couldn’t get across in time to stop it.
GB had been in this position and they only need to look back to two years when they last played Hungary in their final game to reach the World Championships, coming from two down on that occasion.
The spirit of Budapest needed to be revisited and GB caused them some problems in retaliation, but again, Hungary weren’t for budging.
It stayed that way for the rest of the second, but a minute after the restart, Great Britain were finally on the board.
A shot from Brett Perlini was pad saved by Rajna, but it fell to Matthew Myers, who squeezed it through the goalie’s legs to get one back on the board.
Five minutes into the final stanza, Hungary restored the two-goal lead as Hard finished off a wraparound and GB’s hopes, although not dead, were starting to look precarious.
Istvan Sofron added a fourth as the Hungarians hit GB on the counter attack and a hard task got a little harder for Great Britain as the game entered its final eight minutes.
Russell withdrew Bowns for the final couple of minutes in an attempt to get something in the final stages, but the night belonged to Hungary, who gained revenge for that World Championship heartache two years and kept their Beijing 2022 dream alive.