Susann Gotz had a goal and an assist in her final game with the national team, a 3-2 win over Japan to give Germany 7th place and avoid qualification for 2015.
"I'm happy because we won the game, but sad because it's my last game," Gotz said, fighting back the tears. "I need to take a break. My body feels old. I'm now a student, and I will study sports management."
"Before the tournament started our goal was fifth place," Gotz explained, "but when we didn't get that we were happy with seventh because there are so many good teams here. Our national sport is football, and hockey doesn't have the same popularity."
Japan will now have play a best-of-three qualification series to earn a spot in the 2015 IIHF Ice Hockey Women’s World Championship in Malmo, Sweden.
Japan will face the winner of the 2014 IIHF Ice Hockey Women’s World Championship Division I Group A that will be played 6-12 April 2014 in Prerov with host Czech Republic along with Denmark, Slovakia, Austria, Norway, and France.
“Since we did not manage to get a medal, which was our ultimate goal, it’s all very sad. We wanted to get the bronze medal,” Japanese forward Hanae Kubo said.
“We came here to win a medal, so yes we are all disappointed but most of all I am disappointed because our parents were here to cheer us on,” Haruna Yoneyama echoed her teammate.
The Germans came out with more energy than their opponents and drew two early power plays by using their speed through the centre-ice area. They connected on the second of those man advantages.
Jacqueline Janzen won a faceoff in the Japan end and Gotz’s point shot bounced off Nana Fujimoto and trickled over the goal line at 9:18 for the opening score.
Trailing 1-0, the Japanese rose to the occasion and started to move their legs, generating some good speed off the rush as well. They tied the score when Chiho Osawa’s point shot was kicked out by goalie Viona Harrer right onto the stick of Hanae Kubo. She smacked the rebound in at 13:40 to make it a 1-1 game.
The Germans opened a 3-1 lead with a goal early and late in the middle period. Julia Zorn got the team’s second power-play goal at 4:30 when she fired a rocket of a slapshot over the glove of Fujimoto.
"I think this is my first slapshot goal that I've ever scored, which is funny," Zorn explained. "I was in open ice and I saw an opening, so I just tried to shoot as hard as I could."
Then, at 15:49, another weak play by Fujimoto on a harmless shot led to another goal. Lisa Schuster put the puck on the net and Sara Seiler converted the rebound. That was all for Fujimoto as coach Yuji Iizuka pulled her in favour of Akane Konishi, who was making her Olympic debut.
Japan took three of the four penalties in the period, all the result of Germany's better skating which put the Japanese on the defence most of the night.
Japan made the game tight on another goal the result of a juicy rebound. Yuka Hirano took a weak shot from the side boards, but Harrer kicked the puck right onto the stick of Haruna Yoneyama who snapped it into the open side.
The goal gave Japan renewed life, and it fought valiantly to tie the game. The Germans, however, were equal to the challenge and preserved the win, guaranteeing a spot at the 2015 Women's Worlds.
"Finishing seventh is really important for us because it helps with our future and our funding from the government," said Julia Zorn.
German head coach Peter Kathan announced he’ll step down after 11 years and make space for his assistant Benjamin Hinterstocker, who will take over the team.