By Japan Times
Japan hammered Thailand 37-0 to make it four wins out of four in the women’s ice hockey competition at the Asian Winter Games on Thursday, Japan has scored a total of 92 Goals in the 4 games.
Japan, which recently qualified for next year’s Pyeongchang Olympics, faces China for the gold medal in its final match on Saturday.
No. 1 goalie, top forward come through in shootout victory for Korea
By Yoo Jee-ho – Yonhap News
South Korean women’s hockey goalie Shin So-jung was so nervous during the shootout against China at the Asian Winter Games Thursday that she couldn’t stand to watch her teammates take shots.
Instead, she tried to stay focused on the puck fired by the Chinese shooters, trying to make one save at a time.
And the approach worked just fine, as South Korea’s 10th shooter, Park Jong-ah, scored the winner past Wang Yuqing for the 3-2 victory at Tsukisamu Gymnasium. It was South Korea’s first win over China in eight meetings, and the first seven losses had been by the combined score of 90-2.
Though Park scored the winner, Shin was easily South Korea’s best player. She made 27 saves in three periods of regulation play and a five-minute overtime period. After the second Chinese shooter, Kong Minghui, scored in the shootout, Shin went on to deny the next eight shooters.
“I think I’ve been in a shootout at every international competition, and I can’t really watch my teammates take shots,” Shin said. “It would affect my own play. So I turn my back on them and try to keep my focus on each and every shot on my end.”
Shin, who enjoyed a stellar collegiate career in Canada and signed with the New York Riveters in the National Women’s Hockey League, has been through lean years for South Korea. And she’s that much more appreciative of the progress the team has made.
Prior to the Sapporo event, South Korea had lost all 15 games at the Asian Winter Games by a cumulative score of 242-4. Here, South Korea beat Thailand 20-0, battled Japan before losing 3-0, and then fell to Kazakhstan 1-0. The win Thursday marked the first time South Korea scored more than one goal against China.
“We’ve really come a long way and grown so much,” she said. “We’d lost to China so badly before, and we were determined to prove ourselves against them.”
Shin said recovering from the losses to Japan and Kazakhstan, which came on consecutive days, was particularly hard. Shin said the players had given so much to play against Japan, the prohibitive tournament favorite, that they had nothing left in their tank against Kazakhstan.
“We just didn’t play our game against Kazakhstan,” she said. “But we regrouped trying to show our potential before the Olympics (in South Korea’s PyeongChang next year). We kept telling ourselves we were great players no matter what people say, and that we wanted to play our hearts out.”
South Korea had to beat China by three goals for a shot at a medal, but Park Jong-ah, who also scored in regulation, said the players still managed to find motivation in overtime and then shootout.
“We were down on ourselves after losing to Kazakhstan because we felt we could’ve won that game,” she said. “And we told each other we had to beat China to gain something from this competition. And rather than worry so much about strategies, we wanted to enjoy ourselves.”
As for the victory, Park said, “I can’t describe it. We could’ve won the game earlier, and we made it hard on ourselves. It’s an incredible feeling.”