Great Britain were beaten 4-3 by Latvia in their sixth game at the World Championship in Tampere, Finland.
There were first GB goals for Cade Neilson and Lewis Hook, while Ben O’Connor became the 12th player to reach 75 caps.
The defeat means Britain need to beat Austria in regulation time tomorrow to secure their place at next year’s top-level World Championship.
Perlini and first goal for Neilson gives GB first-period lead
Ben Bowns made a superb pad save from Klavs Veinbergs before GB scored two powerplay goals for a 2-0 first-period lead.
Cade Neilson’s shot was saved and Matthew Myers fed Brett Perlini at close range for his second goal of the tournament at 5:24.
Neilson then scored his first GB goal as he turned the puck in at the backdoor after Lewis Hook had tipped Sam Jones’ pass from the right circle (12:16).
Hook fires in his first GB goal
Latvia closed the gap when Oskars Batna swept in a rebound after Bowns had saved the original shot from Nikolajs Jelisejevs (24:17), but GB were in no mood to rest on their laurels and they restored their two-goal lead just over two minutes later.
Hook sped into the offensive zone and fired in his first GB goal from the right circle (26:24), which brought about a netminder switch as Elvis Merzlikins was replaced by Arturs Silovs.
But Latvia reduced the arrears again – this time on the powerplay – as Roberts Bukarts created room for himself and fed Janis Jaks for a one-timer (34:34).
Latvia hit back to take the points
Perlini went close to scoring on a two-on-one break early in the third period, but Latvia equalised with a well-worked powerplay goal as Rihards Bukarts pulled the move at the backdoor before going backhand top shelf (51:49).
Latvia took the lead for the first time – also with the man advantage – when Andris Dzerins redirected the puck past Bowns (53:11) for the game-winner.
Russell: Penalties hurt GB
Head Coach, Pete Russell, said: “We made a great start and were quick out of the blocks.
“It was great for Cade (Neilson) and Lewis (Hook) to get their first goals. I am sure it was a special moment for them.
“But then we hit penalty trouble and you will get hurt if you take penalties at this level.
“It’s been a tough schedule for the boys but we now have to get ourselves ready for one more. They have it in them to pull off a result against Austria.”
GB against Austria faces-off at 20:20 tomorrow (18:20 UK time).
Great Britain World Championship schedule and results
Saturday 14th May 2022 – Czech Republic 5-1 Great Britain – Goal: Ben Lake
Sunday 15th May 2022 – Norway 4-3 Great Britain (after penalty shots) – Goals: Robert Dowd, Brett Perlini, Mark Richardson
Tuesday 17th May 2022 – Sweden 6-0 Great Britain
Thursday 19th May 2022 – Great Britain 0-3 USA
Friday 20th May 2022 – Great Britain 0-6 Finland
Sunday 22nd May 2022 – Great Britain 3-4 Latvia – Goals: Brett Perlini, Cade Neilson, Lewis Hook
Monday 23rd May 2022 – Austria v Great Britain 20:20 (18:20 UK time)
Photo credit: Dean Woolley.