JONATHAN PHILLIPS admitted Great Britain were "not good enough" as they crashed 9-0 to Denmark at the World Championships in Slovakia.
It meant a third straight defeat for Pete Russell’s team in Kosice, having first fell 3-1 to 2018 Olympics silver medallists Germany before an 8-0 defeat at the hands of No 1 seeds Canada.
And while the scale of the defeat against 26-time winners Canada was perhaps expected, yesterday afternoon’s clash against world No 12-ranked Denmark was one of the handful of games GB were hoping to take something from.
But, their hopes of doing so were effectively over by the end of the first period when the Danes scored three goals in four minutes to take control.
Five more goals followed in the middle period – with No 1 netminder Ben Bowns being replaced by Sheffield Steelers’ Jackson Whistle – before a much closer third period saw the Danes breach the line just once more.
And Phillips, both GB and Steelers captain, said better performances were required if GB were to avoid an instant return to the second tier, although equally tough if not tougher encounters now await, first against the USA on this afternoon, before hosts Slovakia and Finland.
“We weren’t good enough tonight and that is the bottom line. We know we can do much, much better,” said Phillips. “We have to accept that the performance we put in was not acceptable, but we can move on quickly from this.
"It was frustrating. We started well, then I took a stupid penalty where I got my stick up, then we were unlucky enough when the puck went out to make it a 5-on-3. The next thing you know, we’re down two goals and it was an uphill struggle from there.
"We have a big game coming up against the USA so the important thing is to not dwell on it and put it to the back of our minds.”
GB's final game of the tournament is against France next Tuesday and that is the game that looks increasingly likely to be one that will determine who finishes bottom of Group A.
Two powerplay goals in 48 seconds enabled Denmark to take control of the first period, with Jesper Jensen finishing off a well-worked move on a five-on-three at 8.49 before Mathias Bau fired a neat shot across Bowns at 9.37 after a neat feed from Washington Capitals' star Lars Eller.
Morten Poulsen made it 3-0 at 12:11 as he scored short side from the left circle, while GB had good chances through Ben O'Connor and Matthew Myers.
Any hope of a fightback from GB were nullified early on in the second when Phillip Bruggisser scored just 58 seconds in. It prompted the introduction of Whistle, who marked his arrival with a couple of good early saves.
But he was powerless to stop two further power play goals shortly after, Eller's one-time blast at 23.17 being enhanced by a sublime finish from Nicklas Jensen at 24:38.
Chances were rare at the other end and GB suffered further when Nicklas Jensen broke swiftly down the ice before back-handing over Whistle before Poulsen made it 8-0 at 35.44.
Colin Shields went close before Denmark scored their ninth - and Poulsen completed his hat-trick - as he broke away short-handed, while GB had a late strike disallowed for a high stick.