‘Improving’ GB devastated by Ukraine defeat

Steve Lee believes Great Britain are improving year-on-year after missed out on promotion to Division 1A of the World Championship for the second year in succession.

GB needed a point in their final game against Ukraine to win the gold medal at the Division 1B tournament in Zagreb, but Pete Russell’s side lost 2-1 with the winning goal coming with just under four minutes remaining.

GB finished second in the six-team group, with Lithuania claiming third place.

“We’ve come a long way, even from the Olympic Qualifiers,” said Lee. “The team keeps growing – every year it gets better and better and there is now consistency.

“We had a week in Coventry before coming out here which really helped us, but it is so unfortunate not to come away with the gold.

“Whenever you are in a gold medal game and lose, it is heartbreaking. Hopefully we can come back stronger from this.

“I guess we learn from what we didn’t do and come back again for next year’s World Championship. We have a very talented group of players.”

GB captain Jonathan Phillips admitted he was stunned after coming so close to securing promotion.

Phillips, who was named as the GB Supporters’ Club Player of the Tournament, said: “I can’t really put into words how I feel now.

“We are just devastated to come so close for a second time. The guys gave it everything we had but we could just not get over the line.

“It was our goal from day one to win a gold medal. We played well today for the majority of the game and we out-skated them.

“Maybe in that last period we sat back a little too much.”

(Image permission: IceHockeyMedia)

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