Great Britain let a two-goal lead slip away before losing 5-4 to Korea after penalty shots in the IIHF Under-20 World Championship Division II Group A in Brasov.
Alex Graham scored twice and now has three goals in the tournament, but it was a first defeat for GB after victories over Spain and Lithuania earlier in the week.
GB fight back to lead at first interval
Park Youngseo put Korea ahead on the powerplay at 8:41, sweeping in the rebound after Lucas Brine had made the initial save.
Jack Goodchild netted the equaliser when he was left alone in front of the net after a good forecheck by Oliver Endicott and Cain Russell (10:20), before GB scored twice in just over two minutes to end the period with a two-goal lead.
A great team goal saw Logan Neilson and Finley Howells combine to set-up Jack Hopkins, whose top-shelf finish put Britain ahead at 17:15.
After Korea’s Park Sungbin took a major boarding penalty, GB scored on the subsequent powerplay with Graham picking the top corner from the slot (19:29).
GB stay in control in second period
Korea reduced the arrears early in the second period – Kwon Hyeonsu collecting an outlet pass and skating in on net, waiting for Brine to commit before lifting the puck into the net (26:14).
But GB regained the two-goal lead – again with the man advantage – as Graham had a rally of shots from the side of the net, finally getting the puck into the net off the goalie’s shoulder at 33:25.
Korea draw level in penalty-ridden third period
A penalty-filled third period saw Korea fight back and eventually tie the game. Jang Heegon was first to a loose puck in the crease and forced it over the line at 46:12 (powerplay).
GB killed off a long five-on-three but Korea drew level at 52:29 as Kwon Hyeonsu scored on the rebound to take the game to overtime.
Korea take extra point in penalty shots
Overtime was a cagey affair with few clear chances, so the final result was decided in a shootout.
Korea, shooting first, scored with each of their first three efforts but for GB, Hopkins couldn’t get his shot away while Neilson and Bayley Harewood fired wide.
Jack Goodchild was named GB’s player of the game.
GB pick up a point from the game and their fate is still in their own hands with the fixtures to come.
Grubb: We got punished by a hungrier team
Head coach, Martin Grubb, said: “Today was a tough loss for us and the most disappointing part is we just didn’t manage the game after throwing away a two-goal lead twice.
“We got ourselves in a good position after both the first and second periods and we just didn’t come out with any sort of intensity in the third.
“We looked really leggy and in the end we knew the Koreans wouldn’t stop. We got punished by a hungrier team. We really need to get over this quickly and keep focussed on the fact we need two regulations wins to give us the best possible chance of success.
“We cannot feel sorry for ourselves. We need to dust ourselves down, learn a harsh lesson and make sure we do our job against Romania.”
GB against Romania gets under way tomorrow at 6pm UK time.
GB U20s – World Championship results and fixtures
Monday 13th December: GB U20s 7-2 Spain U20s – Neilson 3, McKenzie, Stenton, Graham, Howells
Tuesday 14th December: GB U20s 5-3 Lithuania U20s – Harewood 2, McKenzie, Howells, Neilson
Thursday 16th December: GB U20s 4-5 Korea U20s (penalty shots) – Graham 2, Goodchild, Hopkins
Friday 17th December: Romania U20s v GB U20s – 20:00 face-off (18:00 UK)
Sunday 19th December: Italy U20s v GB U20s – 16:30 face-off (14:30 UK)
Photo credit: Bogdan Balas.