• Kyodo

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One year before the start of the Pyeongchang Olympics, the Japan women’s ice hockey team took a good first step toward being there.

Smile Japan defeated Austria 6-1 on Thursday behind Hanae Kubo’s hat trick to move to the top of its final Olympic qualifying pool on the first day of competition. The four-team tournament got underway south of Sapporo earlier, when Germany defeated France 3-2 in a penalty shootout.

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