HEAD COACH Pete Russell insisted he was proud of his Great Britain after they saw their hopes of playing at the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics ended on home ice in Nottingham last night.
In the final game of the four-day tournament at the National Ice Centre, the hosts were denied by Hungary, who won 4-1 and gained sweet revenge for losing out to Russell’s team in dramatic fashion at the World Championships in Budapest two years ago, when GB gained promotion to the top tier.
“We gave it everything we had and we dominated at times,” said Russell, whose team outshot their opponents by more than 2-to-1.
“But credit to Hungary they played a great game and they were excellent defensively.
“We have a lot to be proud of and I have to make a special mention for our supporters. We had some fantastic support, the backing these past few days has been unbelievable.
“They deserved to see us go through but it wasn’t to be and we now turn our attentions to the World Championship.”
We gave it everything we had and we dominated at times. But credit to Hungary they played a great game and they were excellent defensively. We have a lot to be proud ofGB head coach, Pete Russell
The hosts, who had thrashed Estonia 7-1 the previous evening – edged the first session as Matthew Myers had a chance short-handed and captain Jonathan Phillips was denied by a neat pad save from Miklos Rajna, who then made a terrific stop from Mike Hammond’s one-timer.
Phillips’s Sheffield Steelers’ team-mate Brendan Connolly – who scored on his debut in Thgursday’s 4-3 win over Romania – saw his close-range shot saved while at the other end, Ben Bowns made two great stops.
Hungary went ahead, however, 32 seconds into the second session through Bence Stipsicz.
At the other end, Scott Conway hit the bar on an odd-man rush on the power play before Hungary grabbed their second with a one-timer from Csanad Erdely from close range with 31.17 on the clock.
Myers scored his 19th international goal as he reacted first to pounce on a rebound on the powerplay 57 seconds into the third period, but – against the run of play – Janos Hari’s clever wraparound made it 3-1 at 45.11.
GB kept pressing to get back into the game and Davey Phillips’s shot was cleared off the line, before Hungary broke the other way and Istvan Sofron sealed the hosts’ fate with a fourth goal at 52.00.