WEIDEN – Celebrating their third Olympic participation, Germany showed no mercy against Kazakhstan in their final match to go undefeated.
The dream of the Olympic flame might have gone out for Czech Republic, China and Kazakhstan, but there was still enough fire burning inside all four teams during their final round of matches of the Women's Final Olympic Qualification Group D.
Germany vs. Kazakhstan 5-0 (1-0, 2-0, 2-0)
Despite being up in the clouds following Friday's victory against the Czech Republic, which sealed their tickets to the Olympics, Germany showed no hint of complacency as Nina Kamenik and Andrea Lanzl scored a brace each in a 5-0 rout against Kazakhstan.
The hosts dictated the game from start to finish. Winning the shots 50-10 made it a quiet evening for the German netminders, Jennifer Harss and Ivonne Schröder, who both featured during the game after head coach Peter Kathan had given first choice Viona Harrer a well-deserved day off following a solid tournament.
Kathan, who took over as head coach in the summer of 2002, has Olympic experience from 2006 when he led the German team to a fine fifth place in Turin. Following their qualification to Sochi 2014, he is prepared for a tough challenge for his hard-working team.
"During my first Olympics as a coach in 2002, I had been hoping for third place," he said. "But I don't think we have that level for Sochi, but we will aim for at least sixth place."
Next up for Germany is the 2013 IIHF Ice Hockey Women’s World Championship played in Ottawa, Canada, 2-9 April 2013. Kazakhstan will after three straight losses during the Olympic qualifiers look to go back to winning ways at the Division I Group B tournament in Strasbourg, France played between 7-13 April as they hope to be moving on up again after plummeting two tiers in as many years.
China vs. Czech Republic 2-3 (0-1, 0-0, 2-1, 0-0, 0-1)
Despite Klara Chmelova netting a penalty-shot winner, Czech Republic's final game of the Olympic qualification leaves a lot to be desired after they forfeited a 2-0 lead.
"It is a game we should have won 5-1, but it ended up being our worst game of this tournament," said Czech head coach Karel Manhart after beating China 3-2 in a penalty shootout.
Following Friday's 3-1 loss against Germany, the Czech Republic showed no signs of dampened spirits and thanks to fine link-up play from their second line, Lucie Manhartova and Klara Chmelova combined well to pick out Aneta Ledlova, who shot low past Dandan Jia at 6:30 into the game for the only game of the first frame.
Winning the shots 40-11 in regulation time, a Simona Studentova effort doubled the Czechs' lead before the game were to take a drastic turn as the third period went on following China hitting a purple patch. Xin Fang’s clinical display pulled a goal back at 50:13, and she also played a part in the equalising goal assisting Fengling Jin to tie the game.
The penalty shot victory accentuates that the Czech Republic head coach Manhart and his players still have a lot to work on ahead of their first ever appearance in the top division of the World Championships, played in Ottawa, Canada, 2-9 April 2013.
"My players know exactly what they need to do now ahead of the World Championship," he said. "But we have high expectations and hope to win two matches and avoid relegation."
Following last year's second place in the Division I Group B, China will be looking to go one better during the 2013 Division I Group B in Strasbourg.
1. Germany 9 (Q)
2. Czech Republic 5
3. China 4
4. Kazakhstan 0
Germany qualified to the 2014 Olympic Games in Sochi.
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