GREAT BRITAIN were brought crashing back down to earth in their World Championship campaign in Hungary when they were beaten 6-1 by Kazakhstan.
It was always going to be a tough ask for Pete Russell’s team to follow up Sunday’s opening victory against pre-tournament favourites Slovenia, but they got off to a similar flying start when former Sheffield Steelers’ forward Luke Ferrara fired them into a third minute lead.
But, once the world 17th seeds levelled drew level on the powerplay in the 15th minute, it proved to be an uphill battle for GB, particularly after the first period break.
Where the opening 20 minutes had been a relatively even affair, with GB unlucky not to add to their early opener, the second two periods belonged to their opponents, who went in 3-1 ahead after 40 minutes before adding three more goals for a comfortable victory that took them top of the Division 1A table.
GB will take on Poland next on Wednesday afternoon and, despite yesterday’s setback at the Laszlo Papp Sportarena, assistant coach Adam Keefe is convinced more wins will come their way this week.
"Kazakhstan are a great side and they showed their class out there,” said Keefe. "But we can take positives from the game. We had a great start to the game and more than matched them in the first period.
"Five-on-five we really competed but they were lethal on the powerplay. Teams at this level will hurt you with the man advantage.
"We have a great group of guys and they won't let this get them down. We have already shown we can compete at this level and we are looking forward to taking on Poland."
After Ferrara struck at 2.33 for the lead, further GB chances came and went for Ben Davies, Robert Dowd and Ben O'Connor, who all went close on the same shift as Kazakhstan struggled to cope with their opponents' energy.
But they gradually came into the game more and it wasn't a surprise when they drew level with a well-worked powerplay goal from Dmitri Grents at 14.28.
After the break, Kazakhstan began to exert more control and GB, in particular netminder Ben Bowns, were forced to work hard to stay on level terms, until two goals in as many second period minutes just after the halfway mark left them with an uphill battle.
Anton Sagadeyev's tip at 32:20 made it 2-1, although the goal was only confirmed after officials took an interminable time to reach their decision following a video review. Whether that caused GB to lose concentration is difficult to say but, just over two minutes later Roman Starchenko finished off a swift break to make it 3-1.
Any hope of a comeback from GB evaporated in within just over five minutes of the third when Starchenko's second of the night was followed by Nikita Mikhailis finishing off a great move by Kazakhstan from back to front at 45.55.
That fifth goal prompted head coach Russell to call a timeout, replacing Rotherham-born Bowns with Belfast Giants' netminder Jackson Whistle, who saw his first ice-time at a World Championship tournament.
Alikhan Asetov netted Kazakhstan's sixth at 48.23 and, after Whistle pulled off an outstanding save to deny Grents on the powerplay captain Jonathan Phillips shot just wide on a two-on-one short-handed break for GB.