GB men's ice hockey quest fails

Coach Tony Hand could not fault the effort of his players after Great Britain's 4-2 defeat to France ended their Winter Olympics hopes.

Having begun the tournament in Latvia with a 6-2 loss to the hosts, Britain had to win their final two games of Group E to have any chance of reaching Russia.

Goals from Laurent Meunier (powerplay), Pierre Edouard Bellemare (delayed penalty goal) and Damien Fleury made it 3-0 after 35 minutes.

Craig Peacock and Robert Lachowicz, who marked his 23rd birthday on Friday with his first international goal, hauled Britain back to within one but an error from netminder Stevie Lyle behind his own net gifted Charles Bertrand a goal at 53.46 and ended GB's hopes.

Hand said: "I thought we battled hard. I thought we took soft penalties which will hurt you when you play a team like France.

"I was happy with the way we fought back. We came here to compete and I thought we competed well.

"Our fans made some great noise and their support was amazing. You could feel them backing us in the third-period comeback.

"It would have been nice to take it closer but we were up against tough team."

France head coach Dave Henderson, whose side were beaten 3-2 by Kazakhstan in their opener, said: "Congratulations to GB - they battled hard.

"GB did well but I thought my team played well.

"I am happy we won. We wanted this win, we got it and we go from here."

GB finish the tournament against Kazakhstan on Sunday.