Gold Medal Game (April 14)
China I 2 – Japan 1
Final games are always special and it was no different with the crowd in Shanghai finding its way to the arena to cheer for the home team. The set-up for the game seemed to be clear with China I pressing on and Japan defending its goal trying to take advantage on special situations and counterattacks.
However, the game plan did not work all the way for either of the teams in the first period which remained scoreless. Japan was mostly defending throughout the period allowing 14 shots on their goal and getting only four shots towards Shi Yao, the directorate’s choice as the best goalkeeper of the tournament.
In the second period, Japan started putting more pressure on China’s goal and was rewarded with a couple of power-play opportunities. One of those turned out with an undesired outcome for the Japanese when Zhang Ben got to a loose puck and took the lead for China while playing shorthanded. The score remained the same through the period.
The third period began with breathtaking moments. The home team scored its second goal from a penalty shot by the tournament’s best forward Sun Rui. A Japanese defender had covered the puck in their goal crease trying to keep it out of the opponent’s reach. Japan answered on power play only 40 seconds later when Haruna Yoneyama got a one-timer on an empty net after a cross-ice pass from Saki Shimozawa. China’s experience turned out in the end. They controlled the game with their routine and didn’t allow many opportunities for the Japanese to take away the gold medals. With the final score of 2-1, China I was crowned as the champion with the tournament’s best defender Qi Xuetin also selected from their roster. Japan takes home the silver medals.
Photos: Qu Dexin