Great Britain Under-18s were beaten 3-1 by Italy Under-18s in their final game at the U18 World Championship Division I Group B in Hungary.
Victory would have set up a chance for a bronze medal but they now need Japan to beat Hungary to avoid being relegated back to Division II.
Kieran Brown hit the pipes for GB on the first shift before Italy went down the other end and scored through Giorgio Panciera after only 44 seconds.
Brown’s one-timer on a five-on-three powerplay saw GB draw level (15:12) at the first intermission.
Gio Rosa’s deflected shot was the only goal of the second period (36:29) and Moritz Selva scored on the powerplay in the final session (54:01) to win the game for Italy.
Head coach, Martin Grubb, said: “We are obviously bitterly disappointed with the result today as we had it in our own hands to be safe in this group, as well as the possibility of a medal.
“Unfortunately, we looked flat and nervous and never really got going. We fell behind early after hitting the post and it took us too long to get any kind of rhythm and pressure going.
“We kept forcing plays that weren’t there rather than being patient. It’s tough to play with that pressure at 16 and 17 years old, especially when they aren’t used to it at home and the fine margins can have a huge impact and that was evident today.
“The players gave it everything they had and it wasn’t to be for us today, but they can be proud of how they have competed in this group and can take away valuable lessons to make them better people and players.
“Now we all hope Japan can do us a favour as I think we deserve to stay in the group but we need to wait and see now.”
Photo credit: Andy Bourke – Podium Prints (follow them on Instagram and Facebook).