Liang scored with 45.8 seconds left in regulation to lift Germany to a 1-0 win over Switzerland in round-robin play at the 2022 IIHF Ice Hockey U18 Women’s World Championship.
After Leonie Willeitner's initial shot hit Swiss netminder Margaux Favre and bounced into the air, Liang swung at the puck, sending it off Favre's shoulder and into the net.
“In that moment it was in the air, I shot and hoped,” Liang said. "There was a lot of traffic in front of the net and we always practise to work hard in front of the net together. All of us. I just saw the puck, took the chance and put it in."
With the deadlock broken, the Germans erupted in celebration and piled on top of one another.
"I think all of us were very emotional because it is an important game to us," Liang said. "We worked hard all season and at first (the tournament) was cancelled. But now that we have the chance to play at this level, all of us are very happy to play and very emotional."
"We had a few problems in the second period, so for us, 0-0 was good," Germany head coach Franziska Busch said. "It gave us the chance with one good shot, one good rush, to win the game. I don't have anything against a 0-0 score. I think it shows a lot about our hard work in the defensive zone."
Luby also delivered a pair of key saves in the final seconds when the Germans had to stave off a 6-on-4 Swiss advantage.
"She's very good mentally," Busch said. "We knew that she would do it today. She was so ready. Her focus (was great) the whole day."
Favre was equally good, stopping 19 shots in the loss.
A goaltending duel from puck drop, both Luby and Favre frustrated their respective opponents with strong rebound control.
In the second period, when the momentum favoured Switzerland, standout Alina Marti registered four of her team-leading eight shots. After being denied by a Luby glove save on her third straight shot from the right faceoff circle on the power play, the frustration showed as the Swiss Olympian looked up to the rafters.
"We were shooting to far out most of the time," said Colin Muller, Switzerland’s assistant coach who led the Olympic team. "We couldn't find pucks in the crease. They were lying there — even the 6-on-4 at the end. Rebounds right out in front, but we couldn't find them."
Neither team capitalized on the power play. The Swiss were 0-for-5; the Germans, 0-for-4. Busch, however, was pleased with her squad's penalty kill and commitment to shot blocking.
"That's the way we have to play — work hard, block shots and stay together," Busch said. "I'm very happy and proud the team could show it to the whole world today."
"We talk a lot on the ice," Luby said of her defenders. "It kind of helps when you talk. When I don't see something, they see it and we can work together."
Switzerland managed nine shots on net in the third period, with its best chance coming with 6:24 remaining. As Luby leaned a little too far to her right, Swiss forward Alena Rossel took a pass in the low slot but shot just wide of a partially open net.
"We know the way the Germans play, they fight to the very end," Muller said. "They fight every shift and good things happen to teams that fight all the time."
Germany will next face Czechia Tuesday at 16:00, Switzerland meets Slovakia at 20:00.