BUDAPEST, Hungary – Great Britain went down to their fourth defeat of the world championships in Hungary on Friday, when Japan defeated Tony Hands men 4-1.
Going into the contest many British fans were expecting a positive result and a pleasing performance. GB coach Tony Hand opted for Robert Farmer, Colin Shields and Robert Dowd on the first offensive unit with Craig Peacock moving down from the principle line into the 2nd unit.
However, it was Japan who played the better hockey for large spells of the game.
The Japanese took the lead after 12 minutes of play as the sides were skating 4 on 4. GB had two powerplay opportunities later in the period however the British powerplay units were struggling to click into gear and Japan were able to comfortably deal with GB’s offense.
Britain were once again presented with the man advantage midway through the second session of play however, it was Japan who were able to find the back of the net when Hiroki Ueno broke away to slot home a shorthanded goal unassisted.
GB were dealt a further blow when key blue liner Dave Philips left the ice injured towards the end of the middle frame; this was to be his last taste of action in this game.
Britain went into the final 20 minutes of action still in the contest being only 2-0 down but Japan quickly extended their lead when Yuto Osawa lit the lamp just 75 seconds into the third stanza.
Robert Farmer gave the British fans a little hope at 44.44 when he tipped home a Mark Richardson shot past the impressive Tutaka Fukifuji in the Japanese net.
Japan were still creating plenty of chances though and they effectively tied up the game on 49 minutes when Shuhei Kuji lit the lamp for the Asian side.
Farmer and Dowd both tried to drive GB forward during the closing stages of the contest however neither winger was able to convert their endeavour into meaningful goal scoring opportunities which meant GB lost out by 4 goals to 1.
Cardiff Devils blue liner Mark Richardson was chosen as Britain’s best player during the game while Japanese goal scorer Kuji was selected as their top performer.
GB currently sit bottom of the group with 0 points from 4 games, 2 points behind 5th placed Korea. Britain could still avoid relegation though if they can defeat Korea in the first game on the final day of action.
GB beat Korea when the two sides last met in Olympic qualifying late in 2012 however Korea have shown much better form than Britain so far in this tournament.
It has to be a major worry for British ice hockey fans that GB have only managed four goals in their 4 outings to date in comparison the Koreans have netted 11 times with 5 goals against the Japanese and a further four strikes against the host nation Hungary.
Follow us on Twitter @prohockeynews