Liam Kirk scored twice to become the 2021 World Championship’s stand-alone leading goalscorer, as Great Britain were beaten 6-3 by Switzerland in their final game in Group A in Latvia.
Kirk scored his sixth and seventh goals of the group stage to go one ahead of Gregory Hofmann who was on target for the Swiss.
Paul Swindlehurst, Sam Duggan, Lewis Hook and Ross Venus replaced Sam Jones, Ben Davies, Luke Ferrara and Ciaran Long, while Ben Bowns got his fifth start of the tournament in between the pipes.
Kirk scores again but GB trail at end of first period
GB had an early chance when Mike Hammond fed Brendan Connolly who saw his shot saved and at the other end, Bowns made a superb stop to deny Tristian Scherwey.
Switzerland went ahead after a giveaway by GB resulted in Hofmann scoring at the near post (10:31), but GB were level only 37 seconds later when Kirk created the turnover and shot across netminder Reto Berra off the left-hand post (11:08).
The Swiss went to the intermission with a lead though as Romain Loeffel’s shot from just inside the blueline took a deflection past Bowns (16:42).
Kirk goes clear at top of goalscoring charts but Swiss extend their lead
Kirk scored his second of the afternoon, putting away a rebound on the powerplay after Mark Richardson’s shot was saved (25:34), but Switzerland hit back with two goals in 13 seconds.
Santeri Alatalo’s shot took two deflections past Bowns as the Swiss regained their lead on the powerplay (30:07) and on the next shift, Christoph Bertschy netted at the backdoor (30:20).
Switzerland extended their advantage by the second intermission as Bertschy got the redirect in front of Bowns for his second at 36:09 and Nico Hischier finished off a well-worked move from the slot (37:45).
Connolly scores only goal of third period
Jackson Whistle replaced Bowns in the GB goal at the start of the third period, while the Swiss also made a change with Melvin Nyffeler taking the place of Berra.
GB scored their third when Kirk fed Hammond behind the net who set-up Connolly for a really well-worked goal at 53:58.
Co-coach, Adam Keefe, said: “As a coaching staff, we are proud of every single one of the players.
“We wanted to come and compete and that is what we have done against some of the best teams in the world.
“There have been some fantastic moments with the top one being the victory over Belarus.
“We can now build on this for next year in Finland and going forward in the future.
“The team has the confidence now that it belongs at this level and they keep showing it time and time again.”
IIHF 2021 World Championship – GB results
Saturday 22nd May – Great Britain 1-7 Russia – Goal: Liam Kirk
Sunday 23rd May – Great Britain 1-2 Slovakia – Goal: Liam Kirk
Tuesday 25th May – Great Britain 2-3 Denmark (overtime) – Goals: Ben O’Connor, Mike Hammond
Wednesday 26th May – Belarus 3-4 Great Britain – Goals: Liam Kirk 2, Ben Davies, Mike Hammond
Friday 28th May – Sweden 4-1 Great Britain – Goal: Liam Kirk
Saturday 29th May – Czech Republic 6-1 Great Britain Goal: Matthew Myers
Tuesday 1st June – Switzerland 6-3 Great Britain – Goals: Liam Kirk 2, Brendan Connolly
Photo credit: Dean Woolley.