Women’s Ice Hockey Tournament Ready for Playoff Round
The 2018 Women’s Ice Hockey Olympic tournament started with eight nations competing for gold. But after the preliminary round, eight countries have been whittled down to six.
The women’s tournament sees a unique format as the four top teams in the world – the United States, Canada, Finland and the Olympic Athletes of Russia – contested Group A. Meanwhile, Group B was made up of four other nations that qualified for Pyeonchang, consisting of women’s ice hockey teams from Switzerland, Sweden, Japan and Korea.
After a rough and tumble group stage, the playoff round is ready to begin on February 17th, but just how have the teams fared so far?
Women’s Ice Hockey Group A
The tournament got off to a flying start for Canada. The women’s team went through the group stage with a perfect 3-0 record. Scoring 11 goals and conceding a mere two, the Canadians romped past Finland and OAR before meeting the USA in a highly-anticipated match day-three.
After a scoreless first period, Canada made the breakthrough in the second frame when Meghan Agosta scored at 7:18 to give Canada a one-goal lead. Teammate Sarah Nurse scored less than 10 minutes later to put Canada in full control.
USA forward Kendall Coyne pulled a goal back giving the team a chance in the final 20 minutes, however, Canada held out to win the game, 2-1, and stake claim to the top spot in Group A.
Canada goalie Genevieve Lacasse made 44 saves during the game as USA bombarded her net while Maddie Rooney faced just 23 shots for Team USA, which has now lost five consecutive games to Canada.
Despite the loss, the USA advances to the playoff round in second place in Group A. Finland finished the round on three points while OAR lost all three games.
Women’s Ice Hockey Group B
While Group A had a showdown between the world’s best on the final group match of the day, Group B had its own historic moment.
A united Korea team was fielded for this year’s Olympic ice hockey tournament and in the final group game it took on Japan. Korea and Japan’s history dates back to the Japanese occupation of the peninsula. Regardless of
sport, there is no loved lost between the nations.
The game saw Japan win, 4-1, but Korea’s Randi Heesoo Griffin scored the team’s first and only goal of the Olympics.
The Koreans had been battered 8-0 in each of their previous two games and the goal was a great moment for the country and its women’s ice hockey team despite being eliminated from progression to the final.
Griffin spoke to reporters following the game but seemed less than impressed with her goal as the Koreans sank to another loss.
“It doesn’t feel weird,” Griffin said. “This is my team and I scored a goal for my team and I would also say that I am definitely not a hero it was a pretty crappy shot that took a couple of bounces and went into the net. I got lucky.”
Japan and Korea were unable to finish in the top two spots of Group B, however, as Switzerland and Sweden advance to the quarterfinals but it was a still a historic moment for ice hockey in the far east.
Women’s Ice Hockey: What’s next?
The women’s ice hockey tournament moves to the playoff round on Saturday. Six teams advance to the winners’ side of the bracket, all four nations from Group A and the top two teams in Group B will now compete for medals.
Canada and the USA will have a Bye in the quarterfinals. The two teams will play again on Monday, Feb. 19th against the winners of the quarterfinals. Canada will face either OAR or Switzerland, while USA will take on Sweden or Finland.
Japan and Korea will await the losers of the quarterfinal games as the Asian nations prepare to compete in the consolation bracket of the tournament. Each team is guaranteed at least two more games.
Written by Drew Farmer / @DrewMFarmer
Special to HockeyClan
Main Image: Canada celebrates after defeating the United States 2-1 during the Women’s Ice Hockey Preliminary Round Group A game on day six of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at Kwandong Hockey Centre on February 15, 2018 in Gangneung, South Korea. (Photo by Grigory Dukor – Pool/Getty Images)
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