Olympic Women’s Hockey Notebook: Medal Game Previews

Bronze Medal Game: Finland vs. OAR

  • We didn’t learn a ton about either of these teams in their respective semifinals. The Finns lost 5-0 to the United States, a pretty surprising margin considering how they played Team USA to within one goal earlier in the tournament – and competently, too, not just in general upset fashion. OAR also fell 5-0 to Canada, and though they skated pretty well against Canadians through two periods, it was an obvious mismatch that makes it difficult to judge them.
  • For Finland, the most crucial task for them may be to just get back basics and play the way they’ve been successful playing. To be sure, they ran into a motivated USA team that finally capitalized on its talent, but I think the Finns made a mistake in sitting back and giving them space. They need to find their groove again against OAR, especially when it comes to moving through the neutral zone; if they can force turnovers and transition quickly, it’ll be a difficult pace for OAR to play at.
  • OAR, on the flip side, will obviously want to prevent that from happening. If they can keep play to the outside, I think they stand a good chance of frustrating the Finnish attack. A low-shot game likely benefits the Olympic Athletes from Russia, too; they have the goaltending to keep it a close one, but when it comes down to it, they want to keep a skilled Finnish roster from getting into high-scoring areas and setting up plays there.
  • Based on their meeting in the preliminary round, Finland has the obvious edge here after taking that game 5-1. Michelle Karvinen broke out in that game with two goals and the rest of the offense got going as well, generating 37 shots on net. The Finns will be hoping for more of the same; I’d say a key player for them is Jenni Hiirikoski, who is no doubt an all-world defender but hasn’t fully made her mark yet in this tournament. If she dictates play from the blue line, which she does better than anyone else in the world, this will be a tough one for OAR.
  • A key player for OAR is Anna Shokhina, who was outstanding for her team during their big quarterfinal win against Switzerland and also scored their lone goal against the Finns. She wasn’t alone in scoring against the Swiss, however, and I think if they can get another line to be just as opportunistic again, they’ll stand a much better chance in this one than they did in their 5-1 defeat.

Gold Medal Game: Canada vs. United States

  • We’ve been building towards this one for the last four years, really, ever since Marie-Philip Poulin’s overtime goal ensured victory for the Canadians in Sochi, and if there’s ever been a hockey game that doesn’t need an introduction, it’s this one. Team USA is trying to avenge a heartbreaking loss against their bitter rivals. Team Canada is trying to win their fifth straight Olympic gold medal against their bitter rivals. We’re all just going to try and survive watching it. What could be better?
  • Canada got the best of the United States in the preliminary round, winning 2-1 but getting outshot 45-23. But Team USA played their best game of the tournament by far against Finland in the semifinals, finally getting back to the things that make them such a good team: pushing the pace, buzzing on the forecheck, and making the plays needed to not just get the puck on net but do it from spots where they’re going to score. They need more of the same, and I think they’ll also badly want to score first in this one. It feels like so many of the highs and lows for this team have come from confidence, and an early lead would be a huge spark for that.
  • Canada definitely needs to build off of their win in group play and slow down that attack a bit. The United States has a strong offense, and no one’s expecting them to go the entire game without controlling it for stretches, but the Canadians need to make sure they limit second- and third-chance opportunities, and get pucks out of the defensive zone quickly. These are obvious goals for any team but I think it needs to be more of a focus to gain the advantage in this game, and it’s something Canada did well in the December series, too. This Canadian team has gotten stronger all season long, and they’ve really come together, with players like Sarah Nurse, Laura Stacey, Emily Clark, Jillian Saulnier and Renata Fast all growing into noticeable roles. Those depth forwards have been huge already in this tournament and will be key factors again in the gold medal game.
  • Important match-ups to watch: goaltending, as usual. It looks like Maddie Rooney will get the start for the United States, and Shannon Szabados started Canada’s semifinal against OAR. The special teams match-up will also be huge; Team USA has a power play clicking at 25% while the Canadians are at 17.4%, and one or two power play goals in this game is sure to swing things for one team. Last match-up to watch for: the defensive units. The U.S. defenders will be tasked with moving pucks up quickly to limit zone time for the Canadians, and leading the passing attack. While transitioning well is also a focus for the Canadian D, I think for that group it starts with keeping the U.S. forwards to the outside and making sure they have no time to make plays when they carry the puck into the Canadian zone.
  • Players to watch for Team USA: The Dani Cameranesi, Hannah Brandt and Amanda Kessel line was great against Finland, and they’ll need to have another big game here to give the Canadians all they can handle. Captain Meghan Duggan was also huge in the semifinal. D Megan Keller still has so much potential to tap into as a high-risk, high-reward player and while you want to see her play it safe, she can make a big difference on the breakout.
  • Players to watch for Team Canada: Brianne Jenner is someone who’s had a bit of a quiet tournament so far, but she does so many things well to push Canada’s offense forward. She’s also won 80% of her faceoffs at these Olympics. Defenders Jocelyne Larocque and Laura Fortino will also have a big impact on this game. Canada relies on them heavily in all situations, albeit for very different reasons, and their play could give their team a big edge as the game goes on.

Olympic Women’s Hockey Notebook: Quarterfinals Wrap

OAR 6, Switzerland 2

  • This was Switzerland’s game to lose, so this one is tough to swallow for their side. OAR scored early, with Anna Shokhina making one of the tournament’s great plays to score while her team was shorthanded by two players. Alina Müller did what Alina Müller does and tied it up right at the start of the second, and after a power play goal from Lara Stalder it looked like the Swiss had finally taken control of the game with a 2-1 lead.
  • The Olympic Athletes from Russia then scored four unanswered goals, and then an empty netter, to put it way out of reach for Switzerland. For their part, I thought the Swiss were pushing hard to get it tied up again and generating several key chances, like Müller and Stalder combining for two shorthanded 2-on-1 rushes while down two goals in the third. Nothing came of either of them, however, and OAR made it 5-2 on the same power play.
  • OAR was opportunistic and the Swiss had several defensive zone breakdowns that cost them dearly, but I don’t think their performance was so far off the Switzerland team we saw in group play. They didn’t quite walk through Group B; they gave up 39 shots on goal to Japan and beat Sweden by a goal. This isn’t to take away from their 3-0 start at all, and their top players were still creating chances; but I saw a tired Swiss team coming off of two hard-fought games, whereas OAR hadn’t played any close games yet.
  • It was an inspiring performance from OAR nonetheless, who badly needed one after three straight blowout losses in group play. In the end, they wound up exactly where they were going to be whether or not they played any of their first three games tightly, and that was in a quarterfinal game with a chance to advance. Shokhina was excellent, scoring two goals and two assists; Olga Sosina was a threat and Yelena Dergachyova was strong as well. Goaltender Nadezhda Morozova was big in net, too, making saves when she needed to and stymieing a Swiss comeback in the third period.

Finland 7, Sweden 2

  • I’ll preface this by saying I’m always high on the Finns and believe they’re the clear No. 3 team in the world, but it seems like they tend to play worse against teams like Sweden and Russia than they do against the North American squads, despite the obvious gap there. An example: Finland beat Canada at the 2017 World Championships and would have received a bye to the semifinals if they didn’t lose the group opener to Russia.
  • All this is to say that what we’ve seen in this Olympics is something different. After two disappointing losses to the U.S. and Canada to start the tournament, Finland skated to a 5-1 win over Russia and came out blazing in this quarterfinal, scoring early and often to secure the win and advance.
  • The usual suspects were involved in the offense in this one, with the top line of Riikka Välilä, Michelle Karvinen and Susanna Tapani scoring four of the Finns’ seven goals. But nine other players had a point, and the line of Petra Nieminen, Venla Hovi, and Linda Välimäki were the ones to get the scoring started once again for the Finns. That’s been huge for them and a big reason why they’ve been able to win more handily in Pyeongchang.
  • There are so many great players in this sport and I love watching all of them for different reasons. One of them is Tapani. Nobody makes the game seem easier than her.
  • On the flip side of this game, you’ve got to feel for Team Sweden. They were overmatched by the Finns’ talent in this one but it was definitely not for lack of trying or caring in a big quarterfinal game against their rivals. It’s worth noting that the players on the ice aren’t the ones I’d call responsible for what’s become a rather low ceiling for the Swedes. Meredith Foster of The Ice Garden offered good insight last May into what’s gone on behind the scenes with Sweden’s coaching and organizational leadership. They are a hungry, talented group that deserves the proper support, and you’ve got to hope their federation does better by them in the next Olympic cycle.

Semifinals: United States vs. Finland; Canada vs. OAR

Some things to watch for when the United States takes on Finland;

  • Look for a big performance in net from Noora Räty, who I believe still has her best to give in this tournament.
  • To follow that up, if Finland somehow grabs a multi-goal lead in this game at any point, you’d have to think doubt becomes a factor for a United States team that has lost its scoring prowess under this year’s coaching.
  • For Team USA, it would of course be big for momentum if they could get some more players involved in the offense here. The Lamoureux twins, after being shamefully underutilized this entire season, have been great so far at the Olympics, and Kendall Coyne has scored some big goals. But Hilary Knight and Brianna Decker need to get going, and it would be huge if the Hannah Brandt, Dani Cameranesi and Amanda Kessel could finally break out.
  • Will USA stick with Maddie Rooney in net? She’s started both of the team’s most important games so far.

And what to watch for when Canada takes on OAR:

  • Team Canada also has an interesting question mark in net. Shannon Szabados, in my opinion, has earned the starting job, but all three of Canada’s goalies started one game in group play, with Geneviève Lacasse getting the nod in the match-up against Team USA.
  • If this is going to be a game, OAR’s goaltending needs to be nothing short of stellar as well.
  • I wouldn’t say it’s a major cause for concern, but Canada was outshot by the Americans two to one in their preliminary round game. They will undoubtedly have a stronger performance in this game, but I think they’d like to get a multi-layered attack rolling early in this one.

Olympic Women’s Hockey Notebook: Group Play, Game 1 Notes

Sweden 2, Japan 1

  • This was a decent start to the Olympics for both teams, albeit a better one on the scoreboard for Sweden. I think we’re still a ways away from calling Japan a truly competitive team, but they’re definitely a program on the rise. This isn’t something that will happen this Olympics, or maybe even before the next one, but I’m super intrigued to see where Japan can take things and how quickly they can close the gap developmentally and catch some of these European countries.
  • Sweden does not have the flashiest group of forwards but they have a fairly good mix of experience and skill. Both goals were scored off of really nice plays, especially the go-ahead goal from Sara Hjalmarsson early in the third period. She didn’t hesitate at all taking a no-look feed from Erika Grahm, crashing hard and putting it away. It was a nice sequence for a team that needs that level of execution consistently.
  • Their defense is going to be pressed much harder when they eventually play Switzerland in their final game of group play, but the Swedes take on Korea next, which I think will be a good opportunity for them to settle in a little more. We’re already seeing Emilia Ramboldt being leaned on pretty heavily, but Annie Svedin and Johanna Fällman are also solid players with experience.

Switzerland 8, Korea 0

  • Alina Müller’s performance spoke for itself in this one. She tied an Olympic record with four goals, and had a natural hat trick before the end of the first period. She’s no stranger to big performances on this stage; she assisted on the tying goal and put away an empty netter in the bronze medal game in 2014 – as a 15-year-old. Just a special, special player who already has the tools and the poise to be a major impact player here.
  • I’ve long been a fan of Swiss forwards Phoebe Stänz and Lara Stalder, who both pack a lot of punch as true scoring threats. Müller is on another level even above those two, and there’s no doubt that all three give Switzerland some really good weapons up front. Maybe it’s not worth getting excited about a drubbing against Korea, but this is not a team I’d be willing to write off with those kinds of weapons up front – and a pretty good history of winning medals when they weren’t really in the conversation to do so.

United States 3, Finland 1

  • I think Team Finland is way past the point of being satisfied with close games against the top two. The fact that this game was competitive should be no surprise at this point, and it has to be frustrating for the Finns to not have come away with a win.
  • This was a good showing for Finland, though; Michelle Karvinen and Susanna Tapani were threats all game, as usual, and there’s no way they stay off the scoresheet for too long. Noora Räty was dialed in. Venla Hovi scored the game’s opening goal with seconds left in the first period, and I thought she had a strong game overall. Petra Nieminen made a really nice play to set up that goal, and Emma Nuutinen had a really good showing as well. All encouraging signs for Finland, who will need a well-established secondary attack going forward in this tournament.
  • USA was able to turn it on in the second period, with Monique Lamoureux-Morando driving the net to tie it up and Kendall Coyne grabbing the lead for the U.S. on the power play. The team as a whole definitely looked more in sync than they did in their December series against Canada, and closed out the win in a tight game, which has to feel good confidence-wise at this point.
  • It looked like Team USA was trying out several different defensemen on the power play. It was only the first game, and maybe they wanted to get different people involved in those situations, but I found it to be an interesting personnel decision to not be calling on specific units in such a tight game.

Canada 5, OAR 0

  • OAR netminder Nadezhda Morozova did well to keep the Canadians off the board in the first period, but couldn’t hold them off for much longer in a tough game. Brianne Jenner, who has really been excellent all year, made a great play down low and snuck a feed to Rebecca Johnston in front to help Canada break through.
  • It wasn’t altogether the fastest start for the Canadians but they’re content to just roll their lines and let people like Jenner, Johnston, Marie-Philip Poulin, Natalie Spooner and Jennifer Wakefield make plays. Their attack has really come together this year but they’ll face a bigger challenge in their next game against Finland, who beat them in preliminary round action at the 2017 World Championships.
  • Nice to see Mélodie Daoust with a strong game for Canada, scoring two goals and leading all Canadian forwards in ice time at 17:44. Daoust and Jillian Saulnier are two players who may have had a little more to prove this year compared to other forwards here, and they’ve become important pieces up front for this team when it matters most.

News Wrap: U.S., Canadian rosters announced for three-game series in Lake Placid

The United States and Canada will face off this week in an Under-18 Series and an Under-22 Series, each three games. Both series will take place at the Olympic Center in Lake Placid, N.Y.

Hockey Canada announced the U18 Team roster and the Development Team roster on Sunday. The USA Hockey roster announcements came yesterday, with the U18 Team roster listed here and the U22 Team roster listed here. The two U18 teams will go against each other for the U18 Series, Aug. 20-23. The Canadian Development Team and the U.S. U22 Team will take the ice for the U22 Series, Aug. 19-22.

A full schedule for the U18 Series (via USAHockey.com):

Aug. 20 – 6 p.m. ET
Aug. 21 – 6 p.m. ET
Aug. 23 – 10 a.m. ET

And a full schedule for the U22 Series (also via USAHockey.com):

Aug. 19 – 6 p.m. ET
Aug. 20 – 3 p.m. ET
Aug. 22 – 6 p.m. ET

All U18 Series and U22 Series games will be streamed live at usahockey.fasthockey.com (FASTHockey subscription required).

News Wrap: IIHF High Performance Camps head to North America

It was noted earlier this week from a USA Hockey release that at least one team of Under-18 players from several different countries would be training with the U.S. U18s in Lake Placid, as part of the IIHF’s High Performance Camp. Today the IIHF announced the full details of this year’s High Performance Camp, which will see one team of international players train with the U.S. U18s and another head to Calgary to train with the Canadian U18s.

While the High Performance Camp has taken place since 2011, this type of training-directly with the North American U18 squads at their own national team camps-has never taken place before. As the IIHF article notes, the IIHF has taken action with several initiatives to improve competitiveness in the women’s game, and decided to focus on development at the U18 level in 2012. In previous years, the High Performance Camps brought in the top players from several nations, including the U.S. and Canada, and split them up evenly into different teams to practice and play against each other.

But now the Canadian and U.S. squads will remain intact and train with these two teams of IIHF all-stars. Hockey Canada general manager Melody Davidson addressed the change in format in the IIHF article:

“Coming out of last year, we realized that the countries had really bought in and they were sending their best players,” says Davidson. “Their best players were as good as any of our players on a small scale. We just had more depth than most of them.

“What we were starting to see was the challenge to the other countries’ players wasn’t quite as high because they were fitting in and, at times, they were challenging our players. So our next step was, how do we continue to grow them and get them to understand there is still another level out there yet? These are five of our best players but there’s still a whole team. So we were looking for a bit of a change.”

This new structure for the High Performance Camp marks a big step forward in the development of women’s hockey internationally. It feels like the game is constantly being criticized because of a lack of parity; the United States and Canada have dominated the world stage. The gap is closing, but other countries lack the same infrastructure, resources, and focus from their own governing bodies to jump up to that same level overnight. Bringing in the IIHF all-star teams to the North American national team camps, and integrating them into their training programs, is undoubtedly huge for those players’ development.

Not only will they be training on the ice with the U.S. and Canadian squads, they’ll also take part in off-ice training, fitness testing, and classroom sessions in order to become better athletes in every aspect. And this is happening at the U18 level, too, which means that the changes we’ll see will be for the long-term and at the foundation of their own national team programs.

Full rosters for the IIHF all-star squads, as well as the Canadian and U.S. U18 camp squads, can also be seen in that IIHF release here.

Women’s World Championships: USA, Canada will play for gold, Japan to stay in top division

As has been the case in every Women’s World Championship tournament so far, the United States and Canada will meet again for gold. After semifinal losses, Russia and Finland will battle it out for bronze, and in relegation action, Japan claimed a spot in the top division of the 2016 IIHF Women’s World Championships.

United States 13, Russia 1

After a 9-2 win over the Russians in preliminary round action, the Americans simply picked up where they left off in the day’s first semifinal match-up. It was the strongest offensive performance of the tournament so far.

Russia looked like it was going to make things interesting on the very first shift, as Iya Gavrilova got her team on the board first just 44 seconds into the game. Unfortunately for the Russians, they would not be able to get through Team USA’s defenses again, and couldn’t do much to slow the oncoming offensive outburst.

Brianna Decker scored twice in four minutes after the halfway mark of the period, and the United States never looked back after gaining a 2-1 lead. Decker finished with a hat trick and four points, while defenseman Monique Lamoureux equaled her output with four points of her own.

Some of Team USA’s younger faces got some scoring going, as Zoe Hickel, Dana Trivigno, Megan Keller, Emily Pfalzer, and Haley Skarupa all netted goals. Hannah Brandt, Alex Carpenter, and Hilary Knight all added goals as well, while Knight posted a three-point afternoon.

USA vs. Russia (SF) – 2015 IIHF Ice Hockey Women's World Championship from IIHF on Vimeo.

Canada 3, Finland 0

The Finns didn’t let the Canadians get very comfortable with the score for much of this game, but the Canadians didn’t falter, and looked very much in control throughout.

Marie-Philip Poulin got the scoring started early in the first, picking up the rebound of her own shot while entering the zone on the power play. Finland, namely the goaltending of Meeri Raisanen, did not let Canada extend that 1-0 lead through the first two periods.

After a miscue behind the cage that left the net wide open, Natalie Spooner made it a 2-0 game just 25 seconds into the third period. Spooner scored again unassisted halfway through the period on a pretty, pretty move to beat a Finnish defenseman, putting the Canadians up 3-0.

Ann-Renée Desbiens was in net for Canada and picked up her second shutout in two games played at this tournament. Finland came on a bit stronger in the third while facing a bigger deficit, but Desbiens turned away all 10 shots she saw for a game total of 19.

Japan 2, Germany 1 (OT)

In the relegation round, Japan picked up another overtime win to claim the series and keep its spot in the top division for the 2016 World Championships.

Ami Nakamura scored first for the Japanese on the power play just four minutes into the game. They held that lead until late in the second, when Germany tied it up at 1-1 with a power-play goal of its own. Anna-Maria Fiegert got the equalizing goal.

After a scoreless third, the teams headed to overtime, where Kanae Aoki scored on the first shot of the period to lift Japan to the win.

Nana Fujimoto finished the game with 21 saves for Japan, and ends the tournament with a .938 save percentage and 1.52 goals-against average.

What to Watch For Tomorrow

The bronze medal game is up first, with Finland and Russia set to go head-to-head at 6 a.m. (ET). The Finns won the round-robin match-up between the two, though the 3-2 victory came in the shootout.

Iya Gavrilova has certainly been strong for the Russians, as has Olga Sosina, so I would expect both to be involved in the offense tomorrow for Russia. For Finland, the top-line duo of Michelle Karvinen and Susanna Tapani is always dangerous, and so is captain Jenni Hiirikoski from the back-end. Finland’s power play has been effective in this tournament, with three goals on 14 attempts. Both goals they scored against an actual goalie in the quarterfinal win against Switzerland came on the power play; Russia needs to be strong on the penalty kill to take that weapon away from the Finns.

Canada and the U.S. will then face off for gold at 10 a.m. (ET). Universal Sports will have coverage in the United States, and you can sign in with your provider online. In Canada, TSN will have both of these games.

Team USA won the tournament-opening match-up between these two teams, behind one of the most dominating performances it’s had against Canada in recent years. The Americans outshot them 34-11 and carried the play for much of the game.

Canada’s scoring chances were limited in that first game, which was good on the part of Team USA; however, when they were able to break through the American defense, they found the back of the net, as both of their goals showed. Both of those goals also came in transition, an area that the U.S. needs to be wary of. With a fairly young defense that’s not exactly stay-at-home-minded, they don’t want breakdowns going the other way to be an issue.

As Canada showed in that first game, when they create offense, they don’t have much of an issue scoring. The key in this one will be sustaining offense. They will undoubtedly be facing heavy offensive pressure from the Americans, but they need to build an attack of their own. Canada’s go-to line Brianne Jenner, Natalie Spooner, and Jenn Wakefield will play a huge part in that, just as they’ve done all tournament long. Kelly Terry, Sarah Davis, and Jess Campbell had a strong game today against Finland, and if they can help the Canadians win the lower-lines battles, they’ll be in good shape.

Women’s World Championships: Finland, Russia advance, Japan claims overtime win

On Wednesday, Finland defeated Switzerland and Russia defeated Sweden and moved on to the semifinals, where the United States and Canada await. In relegation round action, Japan took a 1-0 lead over Germany in the three-game series.

Quarterfinal #1: Finland 3, Switzerland 0

It was a fairly convincing win for the Finns, who outshot Switzerland by a two-to-one margin while posting a shutout. Finland will meet Canada in the semifinal game at 10 a.m. (ET) Friday.

Finland’s power play propelled them to the win, as the Finns scored two of the three goals with the player advantage to take a commanding 2-0 lead in the third period. Michelle Karvinen made a welcomed return to the line-up and got Finland on the board first late in the first.

After a scoreless second period, Linda Valimaki added another power-play tally just over the halfway mark of the final frame. The Swiss pulled goaltender Florence Schelling for the extra attacker in search of two goals to tie it, but Rosa Lindstedt notched an empty-netter with 3:11 remaining.

Goaltender Meeri Raisanen made 15 saves in the shutout for Finland, while Karvinen posted a two-point effort. Having her available against Canada tomorrow will be key. The Finns played the Canadians tight on Tuesday, and if they can do the same again, having a player with her ability will make a big difference for them.

Finland vs. Switzerland (QF) – 2015 IIHF Ice Hockey Women's World Championship from IIHF on Vimeo.

Quarterfinal #2: Russia 2, Sweden 1

Two third-period goals pushed the Russians past the hosts and through to the semifinals, where they will face off against Team USA at 6 a.m. (ET) Friday.

The Russians and Swedes played each other scoreless for nearly two full periods. But Anna Borgvist continued her hot play and put Sweden up 1-0 with just over a minute left in the second.

It was a fairly even game throughout its entirety, but Russia took advantage of a couple of chances in the third to put itself on top. Iya Gavrilova tied it up within the first six minutes, and Olga Sosina scored with 5:26 left to pull the Russians ahead, 2-1. Sweden couldn’t get Sara Grahn out of the net until there were just 33 seconds left on the clock, and couldn’t find an equalizer in that time.

Gavrilova and Sosina each finished with a goal and an assist. Goaltender Maria Sorokina made 24 saves in the win. Goaltending is obviously going to be huge against the United States; the Americans won the last match-up 9-2 on Tuesday, outshooting the Russians 49-5. Russia will need a near-miraculous goaltending performance if it hopes to hold off the American offense and move on to the gold medal game.

Russia vs. Sweden (QF) – 2015 IIHF Ice Hockey Women's World Championship from IIHF on Vimeo.

Relegation Round: Japan 3, Germany 2 (OT)

Japan mounted a multi-goal comeback on Wednesday to top Germany in the first game of the relegation round series and take a 1-0 lead.

Marie Delarbre got the Germans on the board first within the first eight minutes of the game, scoring a power-play goal to give her team a 1-0 lead. Delarbre scored again early in the second to put Germany up by two. Japan found an answer from Rui Ukita before the end of the period, as the scored with 40 seconds to go to cut the lead in half.

The Japanese got the tying goal from Hanae Kubo just 3:30 into the final period. They continued to press for the go-ahead goal, outshooting the Germans 11-5 in the third. But Jennifer Harss turned aside the rest of the shots she faced to help force overtime.

With only 59 seconds before the game would head to a shootout, Haruna Yoneyama netted the game-winner for Japan, who now has a great shot at remaining in the top division at the 2016 World Championships.

Japan vs. Germany (Rel. 1) – 2015 IIHF Ice Hockey Women's World Championship from IIHF on Vimeo.

Remaining Schedule

Friday, April 3
Semifinal #1: United States vs. Russia, 6 a.m. EST
Relegation round: Japan vs. Germany, 8 a.m. EST
Semifinal #2: Canada vs. Finland, 10 a.m. EST

Saturday, April 4
Bronze medal game, 6 a.m. EST
Relegation round (if necessary): Japan vs. Germany, 8 a.m. EST
Gold medal game, 10 a.m. EST