• Kyodo

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Japan’s women’s ice hockey team missed out on a place at the 2006 Winter Olympics in Italy after a 3-2 defeat to Russia in Group A in the final round of qualifiers on Saturday.

Zhanna Shchelchkova, Yulia Galdysheva each netted in the first period to give Russia the early lead and Svetlana Terfilova extended the host’s advantage just over two minutes into the second period.

With less than four minutes left in the second period, Aki Tsuchida pulled one back and Japan continued to make Russia sweat when it pulled to within one, 55 seconds before the end of the game.

Hanae Kubo’s goal, however, was too little too late as Russia held on for the win.

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