Great Britain U20 are facing relegation from World Championship (Division 1B) after losing 4-1 against Italy on Thursday.
GB are bottom of the standings on goal difference, with their final game against Ukraine a decider to determine who stays in the division and who goes down.
Goals by Marco Marzolini, Gianluca March, Samuel Moroder during the first period gave GB a mountain to climb, but they gave themselves hope early in the middle session when Jordan Buesa made it 3-1.
The sucker punch came just past the midway point of the game, when a loose puck in the GB zone was collected by David Laner and wristed into the top corner past Renny Marr.
GB pressed forward in the third period, but couldn’t find a way past Italian goalie Hannes Treibenreif.
“It’s massively disappointing, we can’t hide that,” said GB boss Martin Grubb. “We’ve put ourselves in this situation and we have to find a way to get a result on Saturday.
“For whatever reason we didn’t come to play in the first period. The coaches had prepared the players, given them as much information as we could, we had a video session and nothing had changed from the day before.
“Italy have come down from the group above and regardless of their results we knew to treat them as something of a wounded animal.
“But as I said after the Poland game, if we replicated our Wednesday performance I’m sure we’d have come out on top.
“For the majority of the game we could not and did not replicate that performance – why that was we need to review and find a way to put it right on Saturday.”
GB’s final fixture against Ukraine faces-off at 7.00pm UK time. Please click here to view coverage of the game.
(Image permission: Duncan Speirs)