The hope of the ice hockey team of Great Britain to reach the Winter Olympics stormed with 4-1 defeat through Hungary
- Britain’s hope of reaching the Winter Olympics was interrupted on Sunday
- Peter Russell’s party suffered a 4-1 defeat against Hungary in winner takes all clash
- The Hungarian retired Miklos Rajna was impressed by his victory
Britain’s hopes of reaching the next Winter Olympics were wiped out on Sunday when they were defeated by their old rivals Hungary 4-1 in a winner takes all the clash at the end of their qualifying tournament in Nottingham.
An excellent performance by the Hungarian netman Miklos Rajna in combination with some controversial referee talks in the third period condemned Great Britain to crushing disappointment in a tournament that they were favorites to win.
Both teams had won their first two games against Romania and Estonia to turn it into a sudden death affair, but Great Britain was unable to repeat the famous draw against Hungary that brought them promotion to the elite level of the World Championships in 2018 .
Great Britain’s hope to reach the Winter Olympics was suppressed when lost from Hungary (photo from May 2019)
Hungary, which is still competing in the second division at world level, is now going to a final qualifying tournament in August to try and reach the Beijing Games in 2022, while GB will be left to its second consecutive world tournament with the world’s top teams in May in Switzerland.
GB had many chances, but found Rajna in sublime form and when they defeated him they hit the bar in the form of a blistering shot from Scott Conway. Britain was also left to rue five wasted power-play opportunities.
Hungary broke the deadlock on power-play in the first minute of the second period after an even and aimless first 20 minutes by Bence Stripwicz after a controversial penalty call on Ben Davies from GB.
Peter Russell’s party suffered a 4-1 defeat against Hungary in winner taking all clash (photo from Great Britain versus Estonia on 8 February)
And when the Hungarians made it into two by Csanal Erdely Great Britain, they needed a repeat of that 2-2 position in the second division of the World Championships in Budapest, which earned them promotion to the elite of the game.
They only got the hope that when Matthew Myers of Cardiff reduced the deficit, but Britain had to climb a mountain when Janos Hari, with more than 300 games in the elite Swedish competition behind him, beat Ben Bowns with a soft enveloping goal.
There was controversy when Istvan Sofron, who got away with just a two-minute fine for an aggressive challenge to Dallas Urquhardt when he could easily be sent to the locker room, added a fourth and Britain was frustrated by the flexibility of the referees who stood Hungary to physically impose themselves.
In the end, this was a well-deserved win for Hungary and Rajna, who received the match award player for making no fewer than 47 saves. And it was a rare disappointment for a GB party that has taken the domestic game to unprecedented levels in the last two years.
“We dominated that game from start to finish and there were a few phone calls that should have gone our way, but their keeper was incredible and it just wouldn’t be,” said GB Captain Jonathan Phillips. “At least this has given us a good preparation and has to put us in a good place for the World Championships.”