• Kyodo

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Having achieved its main objective of the season by qualifying for next year’s Olympics, the women’s national ice hockey team, Smile Japan, turns its attention to the Asian Winter Games.

On Sunday, the women completed a clean sweep of their final Olympic qualifying pool by beating Austria, France and Germany on home ice, to book a spot in next year’s Pyeongchang Olympics. But having climbed that mountain by defeating the previously higher-ranked Germans (No. 8) in a winner-take-all finale, could a letdown be in the cards in Sapporo?

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