Great Britain suffer seventh defeat in seven in a damning loss to Austria that condemns them to relegation


Great Britain have been relegated from the top level of ice hockey’s World Championship after suffering a heartbreaking 5-3 loss to Austria on Monday.

Team GB went into Monday’s game knowing that a win would secure their stay in the top-level, but defeat would mean relegation after a three-year stay in the top tier.

Britain looked at one stage looked like they would cause an upset by taking a two-goal lead against the Austrians before the experience of Austria told in the final period top ensure their survival.

Goals from Matthew Myers, Robert Dowd and Cade Neilson had given GB a 3-1 lead before Austria hit back.

Captain Jonathan Phillips made his 111th appearance for GB and in so doing moved ahead of Ashley Tait, to become the most capped player in GB history.

There was also a personal milestone for defenceman Mark Richardson who became the fifth player to reach 100 caps.

Great Britain had the better of the chances in the opening period and took a deserved lead on the powerplay when Myers picked up a rebound for his 22nd international goal.

Early in the second period, Dowd doubled Great Britain’s advantage when he redirected Neilson’s pass into the net with his skate. After checking on review, the goal was given.

The third period burst into life with three goals in a frantic two-and-a-half-minute spell as Austria hit back on the powerplay with Ali Wukovits’s one-timer at 44:51. Barely two minutes later Great Britain responded when the 21-year-old Nielson fired past Bernhard Starkbaum to restore GB’s two-goal cushion, only for Dominique Heinrich’s shot to take a deflection past Ben Bowns at 47:28 to reduce the arrears again.

Austria equalised following a goalmouth scramble with Benjamin Nissner getting the final touch at 51:26.

Thomas Raffl put Austria ahead for the first time at 58:54, before Peter Schneider’s empty-net goal sealed Great Britain’s fate with 45 seconds to go.

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