Great Britain’s Olympic dream is over after they were beaten 6-2 by Italy on the final day of the pre-qualifiers in Cortina.
Italy will now go through to the final qualifiers in Norway in early September, while GB had to settle for second place.
Italy made a dominant start to the game, but just as GB began to create some pressure they took an unfortunate double-minor penalty to Craig Peacock for accidental high sticks.
The hosts took full advantage of the long period of a one-man advantage, with Alexander Egger’s shot deflecting high past Ben Bowns in the eighth minute.
Italy doubled their lead just two minutes later through Anton Bernard and they made it 3-0 after 15 minutes when Simon Kostner found space in the slot to fire past Bowns.
The second period continued in a similar vein with flurries of penalties interrupting the play.
GB had just killed off another penalty when Christian Borgatello went upstairs to score Italy’s fourth in the 35th minute, but Ashley Tait’s effort after 38 minutes gave GB a flicker of hope.
David Clarke made it 4-2 after 45 minutes, but hopes of a GB comeback were dashed just two minutes later as Alexander Gellert fired home to restore the three-goal advantage.
Joachim Ramoser completed the scoring in the final minute with an empty-netter.
Head Coach, Pete Russell, said: “We gave it our best shot and I am proud of them But we have to be better and we have to be more disciplined.
“We can take a lot from the tournament and it has given us plenty to work on ahead of April’s World Championship in Croatia.
“We are a young side and I think we have a bright future.”
(Image permission: IceHockeyMedia)