The Italians recovered from a slow start and comfortably won the game 7-0 hours after Spain had surprised Kazakhstan in a 3-2 shootout win in the earlier game.
19-year-old forward Anna Caumo scored a hat trick for Italy, which outshot their Asian rival 48-6.
“In the beginning it didn’t work that well but after some time we knew how they played and what to do and then the goals came,” Caumo said.
“The emotions were big for me but I’m sharing these with the whole team because without them those goals wouldn’t have occurred. Tomorrow it will be a different game but I strongly believe in us.”
In the first period the Italians rarely looked like they could lose the game but for a long time they didn’t manage to score either despite a 17-1 shot advantage in the first frame.
With 4:20 left in the period the Azzurre eventually succeeded. Chinese Taipei lost the puck in the offensive zone creating a rush with Italy’s Rebecca Roccella on the right side. She sent a horizontal pass to Caumo, who took care of the 1-0 goal.
“We did a lot better defensively today. I was getting a lot of help from my teammates. They were helping out a lot when it comes to back-door passes and blocking shots,” said Chinese Taipei goaltender Tzu-Ting Hsu.
“The biggest part we need to improve is our mental preparation. We tend to get intimidated by our opponents if they're a lot stronger than us. The last game against Spain is going to be a tough game. They are little closer to us in terms of world ranking. We hope that we can come out with a win but we’re just going to go out there and do our best.”
The Italians continued to create most of the traffic also in the middle frame. Franziska Stocker beat Hsu with a shot just under the crossbar at 8:32. Three minutes later Laura Lobis from behind the net found Caumo free in front of the net, who extended the lead.
At 3:26 the blue team made it a four-goal game on a power play when Chelsea Furlani scored after a horizontal pass through the crease from Samantha Gius. The Italians finished off with Caumo’s third marker and more goals from Marta Mazzocchi and Gius for the 7-0 win to set the tone for the final day.
The Italians lead with a two-point advantage before tomorrow’s opponent Kazakhstan. Therefore they just need one more point to win the tournament by beating Kazakhstan or at least reach a tie after regulation time. Kazakhstan would need a regulation-time win against Italy to finish in first place and advance to the Final Olympic Qualification.
Spain can’t move to first place despite its upset win against Kazakhstan but in case of a Kazakh loss can hope for a second-place finish. Chinese Taipei will challenge Spain in their last game and could overtake tomorrow’s opponent for third place with a regulation-time win.