Great Britain began their IIHF Under-18 World Championship Division II Group A in Tallinn with a 3-2 defeat by hosts Estonia.

GB came from behind twice and netminder Ben Norton made 36 saves, but Estonia took the three points thanks to a goal with just over three minutes remaining.

Britain started strong and had long-range shots from Jacob White-sey and Cain Russell, but soon hit penalty trouble which cost them in the first period.

The hosts look the lead on a powerplay thanks to Erik Nevolainen’s bullet of a shot from right point (18:16).

GB took advantage of two successive powerplays of their own in the second session when Archie Hazeldine cut inside from the left to net the equaliser (32:22).

Estonia were back in-front early in the third period as a perfect pass from Deniss Kontesus found Erik Potsinok, who found room to skate backwards at the backdoor and fire past Norton (43:53).

Norton made a unbelievable double save at close range to keep the deficit to one and Oliver Endicott was denied at the other end.

Photo: Catherine Kortsmik

Sam Cooper, fresh out the box, hauled GB level as he shot through traffic from the slot at 53:43, but the hosts scored the game-winner just over three minutes later.

Potsinok’s shot crept in at the near post over the shoulder of Norton at 56:50.

Head Coach, Sean Easton, said: “We started brightly but then found ourselves in penalty trouble. Once we took one, more followed and we lost our stride.

“Playing from behind all game and taking penalties is no way to be in these tournaments.

“With the past two years cancelled and being at a World Championship new to most of the players, we were star-struck and played on the back foot.

“Playing the home nation as the opening game for tournament and a good fanbase full of locals, it was a tough game to find our feet. We have to and need to be better to come away with a medal.”

GB return to action on Tuesday when they face Romania Under-18s (10:30 UK time face-off).

GB U18s World Championship schedule and results
Sunday 3rd April – Estonia U18s 3-2 Great Britain U18s – Goals: Archie Hazeldine, Sam Cooper
Tuesday 5th April – Great Britain U18s v Romania U18s – 12:30 (10:30 UK)
Wednesday 6th April – Great Britain U18s v Korea U18s – 12:30 (10:30 UK)
Friday 8th April – Serbia U18s v Great Britain U18s – 16:00 (14:00 UK)
Saturday 9th April – Great Britain U18s v Lithuania U18s – 12:30 (10:30 UK)