Great Britain Under-20s were beaten for the first time at the U20 World Championship Division II Group A as they lost 5-4 to Korea U20s after a penalty shootout in Dumfries.
GB will be guaranteed the gold medal and promotion to Division 1 Group B if they beat Japan U20s in their final game on Saturday.
With GB only a point behind group leaders Japan, a three-point regulation win or a two-point overtime or penalty-shot victory will be enough to see Britain promoted.
GB outshot Korea 12-5 in the first period but were unable to find a way past Jong Hun Chun, with Liam Kirk and Cole Shudra going close.
Despite GB’s pressure, Korea went ahead at 21:45 through Hyun Seok Lee’s shot from the right circle.
GB equalised when Shudra scored his third goal of the tournament as he bundled the puck past Chun from a goalmouth scramble (27:03), but Korea went back in front 47 seconds later when Hun Park netted from the slot (27:50).
Britain made a netminder change just past the midway point of the game as Ethan James replaced Jordan Lawday, before Kirk broke into the offensive zone and fired top shelf to bring GB level again at 36:38.
A exciting second period drew to a close in the most dramatic of circumstances with two penalty shots in 30 seconds.
Juhyung Lee fired five-hole after Ben Edmonds was penalised (38:10) and then Sam Duggan went short-side with his penalty shot after he was hauled down on a short-handed breakaway (38:40).
GB netminder Ethan James made two big saves early in the third period, but Korea went ahead through Juhyung Lee’s second as he converted a two-on-one break.
Kirk scored his second of the night – and sixth of the tournament – with a neat spin in front of the net on the powerplay with two-and-a-half minutes remaining (57:33).
Overtime was scoreless, despite GB creating numerous chances on the powerplay, but they were beaten in the shootout with Kwanyong Park scoring the winning penalty for Korea.
There are no games tomorrow (Friday) but Saturday will see the medals decided. A three-point regulation-time win for GB over Japan will see them win the group outright.
However, an overtime or penalty-shot win for GB would see them pick up two points and Japan one point, which would mean they would be level on 12 points. Britain would go up as the next criteria after points is results between the two sides.
A regulation, overtime or penalty-shot win for Japan would see them promoted.
Romania v Korea (1pm)
Estonia v Netherlands (4:30pm)
Great Britain v Japan (8pm)
Click here http://www.iihf.com/competition/646/ for fixtures, results and table on the IIHF tournament page.
Photo credit: Dunan Speirs.