STOCKHOLM – Last year’s semi-finalists met in a rematch, this time for fifth place. The host team, Sweden, had recovered from their bitter OT loss to Finland in the quarterfinal, and was determined to win their last game of the tournament. The final score was 2-0 for Sweden.
Michelle Lowenhielm scored Sweden’s both goals and Elin Moberg recorded a shutout in her first start of the tournament.
“We were a little disappointed that we didn’t make the medal round, but it was close, and Finland’s a good team, our games have always been good and close,” said Team Sweden head coach Henrik Cedergren.
Sweden pressured German defencemen and got off to a great start in the game as Lowenhielm gave her team a 1-0 lead just 1:27 into the game. She shot the puck to the net from an awkward angle, and while Nadja Kruber in Germany’s goal made the initial save, the puck found its way to the back of the net off her pad.
Another proof of Sweden’s determination in the game was seen at the end of the period when Lowenhielm fired a slap shot from the slot with just seconds remaining and the puck hit the net just as the buzzer went off, just fractions of a second before full time.
Germany got back into the game in the second period, thanks to their three power-play opportunities, but Moberg turned away all nine shots she faced in the periods, making several high-quality saves along the way.
In the third, Germany outshot Sweden 9-6, and had several good scoring chances, but again, they failed to unlock Moberg.
Sweden finishes fifth, Germany sixth, a step down for both teams that made it to the semi-final last year.
“Maybe a round-robin and then semi-finals and a final would be a better and fair system. Of course, that would add games to the tournament,” said Cedergren.
Switzerland - Japan, 1-5
Japan refused to go down quietly, and instead, takes the relegation round best-of-three series to full three games, thanks to today’s 5-1 win over Switzerland. Japan got five goals from five different players, and solid goaltending from Ai Tokoro, making her first appearance in the tournament.
Switzerland took a hold of the spot in the top division with Jana Bigler’s first period goal, but first Momoka Odaira tied the game halfway through the game, and then Japan added two power-play goals to make it a two-goal game after two periods.
Rina Takeda got the game winning goal at 14:41, and Runa Moritake scored her second goal of the tournament in the last second of play in the period.
Switzerland got another penalty early in the third period, and while Japan didn’t manage to score on the powerplay, Nodoka Abe made it 4-1 jus 20 seconds after Nicole Schneider had returned to the ice. Runa Maritake collected her second point of the game with an assist to Mai Morii’s 5-1 goal with 4:34 remaining in the game.
Tokoro made 29 saves in the game.
The third game of the relegation round series will be played on Saturday.