GB ran into continuous penalty trouble in the Division 2A opening day encounter, eventually conceding three power play goals, but they have an immediate chance to make amends when they face hosts Lithuania tonight in Vilnius (5pm UK time
Hehir was joined in the line-up by Sheffield Steelers’ trio Will Kerlin, Jordan Griffin and Alex Graham, as well as Sheffield Steeldogs defenceman Reece Cochrane.
“It is a big disappointment to lose, especially as we were punished for our own mistakes by a very good Japan team,” said head coach Grubb.
“You cannot win a game when you give up so many soft goals.
“We need to learn and learn fast to give ourselves the best chance of bouncing back tomorrow. We have the ability.”
Japan got themselves 2-0 ahead before GB replied through Austin Mitchell-King at 30.16. The two-goal cushion was soon restored, however, when Hanzawa struck on the power play at 35.37.
Jordan Buesa netted at 46.53, but Japan stretched their lead with further power play goals from Teruto Nakajima and Teppei Ueno, as well as an even strength from Riku Ishida.
A top-corner finish came from Graham at 58.46 – adding to his assist on Buesa’s goal – but it was no more than a consolation.