Watch: NZ men's speed skating team come agonisingly close to gold medal race, have nothing left in the tank for bronze

The New Zealand men's speed skating team have missed out on a Winter Olympics medal after a guaranteed one slipped through their fingers in a brilliant semi-final against South Korea.

The Kiwi trio of Shane Dobbin, Peter Michael and Reyon Kay faced off with heavy favourites South Korea early this morning for a spot in the gold medal race - where they would've been guaranteed at least silver - but a remarkable comeback by the hosts in the final lap denied them.

The New Zealanders lead by 0.25 seconds heading into the final lap but the Koreans dug deep and found second win, taking the win by 0.72 seconds to meet Norway in the final.

However the South Koreans were denied there with the Norwegians taking gold by 1.20 seconds.

The story wasn't much better for the Kiwis, who were comfortably beaten by the Netherlands in the bronze medal race by more than five seconds.

The Kiwi team admitted after the second loss they simply had nothing left in the tank for the final race.

"We just ran out of gas and we gave it everything we had. We decided last night we would give it everything we have and we think we did ourselves proud," Dobbin told Sky Sport.

Dobbin, who at 38-years-old came out of retirement to race in the team, said hr was proud of their efforts and "wouldn't change a thing".

Michael was in the same high spirits.

"It still hasn't sunk in what happened, obviously we gave it a really good run in semi final, but come up short in the bronze final," said Michael.

"They [Dobbin and Kay] are the best."

Japan took gold in the women's event, with Netherlands claiming silver and USA rounding things out with bronze.