Great Britain were beaten 6-1 by the Czech Republic in Group A of the World Championship at the Olympic Sports Centre in Riga, Latvia.
There were four changes to the line-up with Dallas Ehrhardt, Sam Jones, Luke Ferrara and Ciaran Long replacing Mark Garside, Paul Swindlehurst, Sam Duggan and Lewis Hook.
Jackson Whistle was given his second start but was replaced by Ben Bowns just before the midway point of the third period after suffering cramp and dehydration, meaning Jordan Hedley won his first cap as he served as back-up for the remainder of the game.
Superb finish gives Czech first-period lead
GB had an early chance when Ciaran Long forced a turnover but shot just wide and at the other end, Whistle made two superb stops on a Czech powerplay.
Czech took the lead thanks to a top-quality goal from Lukas Klok, who cut inside from the right to fire high past Whistle (8:01).
Brendan Connolly and Liam Kirk went close for GB before Whistle pulled off a top-class save to deny Matej Stransky at the backdoor.
Czech score three before Myers cuts deficit
Czech scored early in period two when Filip Ronek battled through the GB defence and produced a low backhand finish (20:33), while Libor Sulak made it 3-0 less than four minutes later as he jumped into the play to complete a well-worked move (24:29).
Filip Chytil scored Czech’s fourth as he broke into the offensive zone and cut inside from right (32:07), before GB reduced the arrears on the powerplay late in the period.
Liam Kirk set-up Mark Richardson who saw his shot saved by Roman Will, but Matthew Myers was on hand to jam home the rebound for his 21st international goal on his 101st appearance (39:37).
Czech see game out with two third-period goals
Kirk had two chances early in the second period and Robert Dowd and Ben O’Connor also went close on the powerplay.
Bowns replaced Whistle at 48:43 – a change which saw Hedley leave his seat in the stands to take to the bench as back-up.
Radan Lenc netted from the slot to make it 5-1 at 51:33 before Sulak scored his second of the game as his shot was deflected past Bowns (57:58).
Co-coach Corey Neilson said: “I think the Czechs played fantastic. They were flying around, moving their feet and they are a great team.
“We just didn’t seem to have that extra jump to be able to create a whole lot up the ice.
“Lets be honest, we played against the fourth-best team in the world yesterday and then very little rest before facing another top-ranked team today.
“But our players – as they do at all times – battled as hard as they could and I think, at times, we did some good things.”
GB play their final Group A game on Tuesday when they face Switzerland (10:15am UK time).
All of GB’s games are live on FreeSports in the UK. FreeSports is available free on Sky Channel 422, Virgin Media Channel 553, on Channel 64 on Freeview and BT and via the FreeSports Player.
IIHF 2021 World Championship – GB results and fixtures
Saturday 22nd May – Great Britain 1-7 Russia – Goal: Liam Kirk
Sunday 23rd May – Great Britain 1-2 Slovakia – Goal: Liam Kirk
Tuesday 25th May – Great Britain 2-3 Denmark (overtime) – Goals: Ben O’Connor, Mike Hammond
Wednesday 26th May – Belarus 3-4 Great Britain – Goals: Liam Kirk 2, Ben Davies, Mike Hammond
Friday 28th May – Sweden 4-1 Great Britain – Goal: Liam Kirk
Saturday 29th May – Czech Republic 6-1 Great Britain – Goal: Matthew Myers
Tuesday 1st June – Switzerland v Great Britain – 12:15 face-off (10:15 UK time)
Photo Credit: Dean Woolley