Japan collects first win
by Liz Montroy|03 SEP 2022
Japan's Yoshino Enomoto #16 celebrates her second-period goal against Sweden with her team mates.
photo: Andrea Cardin / HHOF-IIHF Images
Remi Koyama scored with just under three minutes remaining to help Japan to a 5-4 win over Sweden in Saturday's second placement-round game in Frederikshavn. It was the first time ever that Japan has scored five goals in a top-level IIHF Ice Hockey Women’s World Championship game.

With this win, Japan will meet Finland in the final placement round game on Sunday, the winner of which will take fifth place in the tournament.

Sweden had some unfinished business heading into this meeting with Japan. Last time they played each other at the World Championships was in 2019 – Japan won 3-2, sending Sweden to relegation. Japan won their Olympic match-up earlier this year as well, outshooting Sweden 40-27 and taking a 3-1 victory.

Makoto Ito tested Emma Soderberg early, but Sweden’s fourth line put in the work to flip the momentum in their team’s favour. After dumping the puck into Japan’s zone, Emma Muren sped to the front of the net, receiving a pass from Thea Johansson and scoring blocker side to put Sweden up 1-0.

Sweden scored two more goals in the first, starting with Olivia Carlsson deflecting a Hanna Olsson pass into the net.

"I was trying to shoot, but it was more like a tip so I was surprised that it went in the net," said Carlsson. "It was a good pass from Hanna, I was just trying to get the puck to the net."

With less than five seconds remaining and Shiori Koike in the penalty box for holding, Maja Nylen Persson’s one-timer sent Miyuu Masuhara’s water bottle flying, giving Sweden a 3-0 lead.
Japan vs Sweden (Pl.) - 2022 IIHF Ice Hockey Women's World Championship
JPN SWE 03 SEP 2022
The story of the second period was Japan and their power play. The special teams unit of Ito, Haruka Toko, Yoshino Enomoto, Ayaka Hitosato and Akane Shiga generated three goals in the second period to tie the game 3-3. Prior to this game, Japan had only had four power play opportunities, and no goals scored with the player advantage.

"Before in this tournament we didn't really get a chance on the power play," said Toko. "After the first period, our head coach said to [tie the game] one by one."

Toko got her stick on a loose puck next to Soderberg to start Japan’s comeback. One minute and 18 seconds later, Enomoto scored on a wide open net after a flurry of attempts from her linemates. Toko collected her third point of the game assisting on Japan’s tying goal, a wrister from Ito.

"I was trying to do what, during the practice times, the things we have been working on with the coaches," said Ito. "During the game I made it, I'm so happy I did that."

"They scored three in the second so we just wanted to calm it down and do a good job in the third and push hard to score," said Carlsson. "It wasn’t enough this time."

Japan scored their fourth unanswered goal in the third period—this time at even strength. Shiga passed to Toko, who used her backhand to lift the puck over Soderberg for her second goal of the game. 

Play continued to be back and forth, with both Soderberg and Mashuara kept busy. While Toko was leading the way for Japan, for Sweden it was Olsson who led the offensive charge. Storming down the ice on a 2-on-1 with Sarah Hjalmarsson, Olsson tied the game at 4-4, her third point of the game.

Remi Koyama scored her first senior national team goal with just 2:48 remaining in the third, tucking the puck into the bottom left corner of the net and giving Japan a 5-4 lead.

"That was a determined goal," said Toko. "It made me so happy."

Sweden pulled Soderberg in the final two minutes, but were unable to send the game to extra time to prolong their time in Denmark.

"It’s a tough loss now, but if you look at it, in a while probably we will think that we did a good job in the preliminary round and a good game against Canada, and we didn’t make it all the way this time," said Carlsson. "But I guess we will keep working to get even better positions in the Worlds. We’re just going to keep working hard."
Japan vs Sweden (Pl.) - 2022 IIHF Ice Hockey Women's World Championship