SOCHI, RUSSIA – Japan, which had already bowed out of the medal rounds, fell to its third straight loss at the hands of Germany, taking in a 4-0 walloping to finish in last place in Group B of the preliminary round in women’s ice hockey at the Sochi Games on Thursday.
Led by coach Yuji Iizuka, Japan is hoping to win its first Olympic game, but it get its final chance for victory in classification matches for the fifth to eighth places starting Sunday.
“We couldn’t battle hard over 60 minutes,” said Iizuka. “We were unable to regroup well and we didn’t function as a team. We must take a good look at ourselves and get ready for the next game.”
It is shaping up to be a repeat of Japan’s disastrous campaign when the sport debuted at the 1998 Nagano Games. Japan gained entry as the host, but lost all five games it played.
Franziska Busch scored twice and Manuela Anwander and Kerstin Spielberger added goals to give Germany its first win in Group B.
Anwander scored on a power play after 13 minutes, 23 seconds of the first period after Yuka Hirano was booked for cross-checking, and Busch netted her first goal at the start of second period after a steal. Forwards Chiho Osawa and Tomoko Sakagami went on the attack for Japan but could not find a way through.
Spielberger added the third goal at 58:31 before Busch completed the scoring nearly one minute later.
Smile Japan, as Iizuka’s team is nicknamed, has been limited to just one goal in three games.