International Ice Hockey Federation

Off the mark

Off the mark

Germany gets its first win in Sochi

Published 13.02.2014 18:45 GMT+4 | Author Andy Potts
Off the mark
SOCHI, RUSSIA - FEBRUARY 13: Japan's Yoko Kondo #3 gets tripped up by Germany's Nina Kamenik #7 while Tomoko Sakagami #18 looks on during women's preliminary round action at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games. (Photo by Jeff Vinnick/HHOF-IIHF Images)
The end of the Group B program sees Germany get its first win while Japan must hope for better fortune in the classification round

Germany claimed its first victory of the Sochi Olympics to wrap up its Group B campaign on a high note.

Goals from Manuela Anwander and Francisca Busch set the Germans on their way to a 4-0 victory at the Shayba Arena on Thursday while goalie Viona Harrer made 30 saves for her shut out.

Both teams went into the game looking for their first win of the tournament - which in Japan's case would have been a first ever Olympic victory.

And both teams had grounds for optimism despite losing their earlier games. Japan was twice on the wrong end of single-goal verdicts, while Germany threatened an upset against Russia in its opening game before succumbing in the last 10 minutes.

While neither team retained any prospect of a quarter-final berth, success here would also be a fillip ahead of the classification round.

Japan was first to show, fashioning a good opening in the third minute when Hanae Kubo stole the puck and played in Chiho Osawa only for a desperate waft of a defenceman's stick to push the captain's shot wide.

Miho Shishiuichi also tested Harrer in the German goal, but the Japanese failed to capitalize on the early pressure.

Then came the opening goal, with Germany converting a power play to punish Japan for its wastefulness. The puck came back to Anwander on the blue line, and with Sara Seiler screening Nana Fujimoto in the Japanese goal Anwander's shot beat the goalie low to her left.

"It's my first Olympics, and that was my first Olympic goal," Anwander said. "I feel great!

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"We've won this game and we still have a chance to finish fifth, but the other games were harder."

It took just 48 seconds of the second period to for Germany to double the advantage. Busch seized possession on the boards and exchanged passes with Andrea Lanzl before lifting a backhander over Fujimoto's left shoulder to claim her second goal of the tournament.

That goal seemed to subdue Japan, which struggled to reproduce the energetic pressing game which came so close to upsetting Russia in the previous game, while Germany recovered the confidence it had lost during a 0-4 reverse against Sweden. As a result much of Japan's offence was held up at the blue line, unable to find the finesse to fashion dangerous moments closer to Harrer's net.

Japan's Yurie Adachi admitted a tough tournament had disappointed the squad. "We hoped to achieve better results and even thought we could try to get into the medal positions, but we weren't able to," she said. "But we're still positive, and we know we are all trying our best."

Fujimoto showed her best midway through the second period when Maritta Becker stole the puck from Tomoko Sakagami to set up a clear run on goal, forcing a big save with the arm pad to keep Japan with any kind of toe-hold in the game.

The third period offered more of the same as Japan was unable to get back into contention. Germany added a third with 90 seconds left when Kerstin Spielberger swept the loose puck into the net after a blue-liner from Tanja Eisenschmid and wrapped it up with an empty net goal from Busch. 

Busch, who is returning to the Games after featuring in the roster which took fifth place in Turin, said that her experiences in Italy helped after defeats in the first two games.

"It gave us hope because the situation was similar in the last tournament," she said. "We lost our first two games but won at the end of the group to set up a good run in the classification round.

"That's why we kept believing that our time would come again and we kept working hard."

Both teams now prepare for the start of the classification round, which follows Saturday's quarter-finals.


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