Great Britain Under-18s were undone by four goals from Andrei Vasile as they lost 4-2 to Romania Under-18s in the World Championship Division 2 Group A in Gangneung.
Despite outshooting Romania 46-18, GB had to answer to Vasile who took his tournament tally to eight goals.
GB had constant pressure in the first five minutes but were unable to find a way past Ors Adorjan, who made 44 saves in the game.
Romania took the lead when Vasile drove his shot from just inside the blueline on a five-on-three powerplay at 11:02.
Vasile touched in on the resulting one-man advantage (12:51) and finished off a well-worked to complete a first-period hat-trick (14:46) in less than five minutes.
Liam Kirk pounced on the doorstep from a rebound at 23:08 to close the gap, but GB failed to convert two successive powerplay opportunities in the second period.
Jordan Kelsall netted his first goal of the tournament – scored on the powerplay at 47:18 – to bring Britain to within one.
GB were pushing for the equaliser and Vasile took advantage of a gap in the GB defence to breakaway and fire top shelf for his fourth goal of the game – and seal the three points.
Victory for GB could’ve set them on the path for a gold medal had results gone in their favour, but they currently sit fifth with four points and will face a relegation-decider against Croatia tomorrow at 12noon (4am UK time).
Assistant coach, Martin Cingel, said: “Those five minutes cost us dear. Three goals and we couldn’t recover.
“It shows the small margins there are at this tournament.
“If we won the game we’d be playing for a medal, but now we are at the other end.
“It’s disappointing but tomorrow is a very, very important game.
“We need to keep our heads-up and we need to do everything in our power to get the job done.”