NORMALLY, a silver medal would be something to celebrate for Great Britain from their annual trip to the World Championships.
But, this time around, while finishing second was by no means a failure, Pete Russell’s players will know they allowed a wonderful chance to clinch a gold medal and, with it, promotion to the second tier of the world game slip through their fingers in Eindhoven yesterday.
A disappointing 3-2 defeat to Lithuania – enough to see them claim bronze – allowed Korea to take Division 1B’s top spot.
Given GB had beaten the Koreans 3-2 earlier in the week – coming from 2-0 down for the second time in three days – the outcome will be hard to stomach, although head coach Russell said they had done plenty to be proud of during their time in the Netherlands.
“This is hurting so much but we should hold our heads up high,” said Russell. “They were shattered out there but they gave it their all and they played with pride and passion all week.
“We just came up a little short but they deserve so much credit for the week they had. I guess it just wasn’t meant to be.”
Korea had earlier beaten Croatia 9-4 to ensure an unbeaten GB team needed just a point from their final game.
But, despite out-shooting their opponents by more than two-to-one, they were unable to achieve their goal.
Mark Garside put GB ahead at 14.08 following a terrific pass by Sheffield Steelers’ defenceman Mark Thomas.
Robert Lachowicz and Steelers’ Ben O’Connor both hit the post before Lithuania – who only had two shots in the first period – levelled at 29.55 through Danielius Omanovas.
They then went ahead on a five-on-three powerplay at 37.45 as Nerijus Isauskas, although Russ Cowley’s tip-in at 43.25 saw GB back on level terms.
However, the killer blow came on another Lituania powerplay at 53.01, when Paulius Gintautas fired in past Rotherham-born netminder Ben Bowns.
Despite enjoying a late five-minute powerplay, GB could not find the goal that would have earned them promotion.