International Ice Hockey Federation

Czechs shoot down Japan

Hymlarova plays the heroine

Published 31.03.2016 16:05 GMT-7 | Author Lucas Aykroyd
Czechs shoot down Japan
KAMLOOPS, BC - MARCH 31: Czech Republic's Alena Polenska #9 celebrates a second period goal against Japan's Nana Fujimoto #1 during preliminary round action at the 2016 IIHF Ice Hockey Women's World Championship. (Photo by Matt Zambonin/HHOF-IIHF Images)
The Czech Republic edged Japan 3-2 in a shootout at McArthur Island Centre to complete their round-robin slate on Thursday. Klara Hymlarova notched the winner.

It was an epic shootout indeed. Hymlarova’s game-deciding shot was the 15th overall, and she had taken three previous shots, including one goal, beforehand.

The result gave the Czechs an opportunity to reach the quarter-finals for the first time in their Women’s Worlds history. It would hold up unless Switzerland beat Sweden in regulation in the last Group B game.

The Japanese, meanwhile, are bound for relegation play, like last year.

Czech goalie Klara Peslarova got the victory versus last year’s Best Goalie, Nana Fujimoto. Final shots on goal favored the Czechs 33-28.

With Katerina Bukolska off for tripping, Japanese captain Chiho Osawa opened the scoring with a power play goal at 4:55.

The Czechs failed to capitalize on three second-period power plays as Japan held on to its lead. Yet Czech captain Alena Polenska stepped up with just 41 seconds left in the middle frame, notching the equalizer on a Denisa Krizova set-up.

Polenska assisted on Aneta Tejralova’s 2-1 goal at 7:48 of the third period. But Japan’s Mika Hori made it 2-2 just over two minutes later.

The Czechs had a golden chance to get the winner in regulation time when they got a 5-on-3 with just 2:20 remaining. In an unusual sequence, Haruna Yoneyama was sent off hooking at the same time as Shoko Ono was sent off for tripping. However, it was nothing doing, and extra time was required.

In 2013, the Czechs finished eighth. Japan has never finished higher than seventh at the Women’s Worlds (2008, 2015).