The win ends the most successful preliminary round ever at the Women's Worlds for Japan, as they finished in second place in Group B (best result) with three wins (best) and nine points (best). For their efforts, they will now face the United States in one quarter-finals on Saturday, while Germany finishes in third place in the group and has the equally daunting task of playing Canada.
"They scored in the first period, but I think after we tied the game in the second we got the momentum," said Japan's coach Yuji Iizuka. "That was the key for us. Once we got that first goal, we believed we could win."
"We fought the whole game. We never stopped skating and we tried to get to every puck and block every shot. That is something positive for us," said German forward Nicola Eisenschmid. "We lost control in the second and they scored two goals, but we tried to come back and never stopped fighting."
Along the way, Germany suffered injuries to three star players. In the first, Nina Christof took an accidental hit to the head, but later returned. In the second, Laura Kluge blocked a shot with her ankle or foot and did not return. And in the third, Sonja Weidenfelder seemed to injure her right shoulder in a collision off a faceoff and didn't return either.
"It will be very hard to play against Canada because they're a really good team," said Marie Delarbre, "but as our coach said, we have nothing to lose, so we're going into the game as underdgos, but anything can happen. It's great to play against Canada when the worlds are in Canada. It's going to be a great experience."
It worked for one period, but not the whole game.
"We had a really good first period, but Japan started the second period really well," admitted Germany's coach Thomas Schadler. "They scored twice, and then it was tough for us, but we also had chances. We had a power play at the end of the second period and two more in the third, but we couldn't score."
A cautious opening period produced only the one goal, and it came on a harmless-looking play. Captain Julia Zorn threw a long shot on goal that Nana Fujimoto stopped, but the goalie couldn’t control the rebound and Kerstin Spielberger snapped it to the top corner at 14:52.
Although Germany outshot Japan 10-2 in the first and looked to be in control, the Japanese dominated the second period and scored the only two goals. The first came just 2:13 into the period off a faceoff win by Moeko Fujimoto. She got the puck to 38-year-old Hanae Kubo, who wired a one-timer past the blocker of Harss to tie the game.
Japan kept the pressure on and were rewarded midway through the period. This time it was Hikaru Yamashita who got the puck of her own end after an unwise pinch and went the length of the ice. Her close-in shot eluded Harss, and Japan headed to the dressing room after 40 minutes with a well-earned lead.
In the third, scoring chances were scarce as Japan did a great job defending the lead without collapsing in their end, and the Germans couldn't penetrate the zone or get close to Fujimoto for dangerous chances.