Great Britain U18 Women began the World Championship (Division 1B) in Katowice with a 3-0 defeat by Italy Women.
Italian netminder Eugenia Pompanin secured a 14-shot shutout, while GB goalie Maisie Gilbert (Telford) turned away 20 shots of the 23 she faced and Jessica Sprules (Swindon) was named as Britain’s player of the game.
Italy took the lead when Anita Muraro jabbed the puck in at the near post (3:29) and Mara de Rech’s shot through a crowd of players made it 2-0 at 10:41.
GB made a bright start to period two as Katie Marsden and Shannon Douglas went close and had much the better of the play, but were unable to find a way past Pompanin.
Chole Riley was denied from close range in the third period, before Italy scored on the powerplay when Nadia Mattivi netted from the blueline (51:33).
Marsden had a chance on the backhand after she cut inside from the left, but Pompanin held firm to secure a winning start for Italy.
Coach, Michelle Smith, said: “We are disappointed with the defeat but I felt we got stronger as the game went on.
“We let nerves get the better of us in the first period, but in the second we settled down and started to gain confidence.
“Heads dropped when the third goal went in from a well-worked powerplay. It’s at those moments where we either bow down and give in, or we stand tall and show what we are made of.
“After a timeout and a stern talk, I was pleased to see they decided to show me what they are made of and again put pressure on Italy.
“Italy are a good side and will be looking for promotion, but we can take heart from the way we played in the second and third period.
“We must not get too down about the defeat as we have a quick turnaround for tomorrow’s game.”
Click here http://stats.iihf.com/Hydra/612/IHW612901_74_4_0.pdf for full game statistics.
GB take on Denmark (3:30pm UK time) tomorrow in their second game of the tournament.