Olympic Games: Sweden vs Japan, Women’s Group Match

Olympic Games: Sweden vs Japan, Women’s Group Match

10 Feb 2018 | Adrian J

A close game, with one goal in each period and a few names on the score sheet that might be familiar to NHL fans.


Sweden v Japan might not seem like an even match and when Olympic Silver medallist and former goalkeeper Kim Martin Hasson said that it will be tight on Swedish TV last night, I thought it was just polite and cautious pre-match talk. But close it was, with one goal in each period and a few names on the score sheet that might be familiar to NHL fans.

It was Sweden's Fanny Rask, brother to Carolina Hurricanes' Viktor Rask, who got the opening goal of the match. The super talented HV71 forward scored the first goal of the whole Olympic Games after only 3:30 minutes had gone by. Sweden will be hoping that the 26 year old's club statistics of 0.98 Points Per Game will be reflected on the score sheets in this, her second Olympic Games.

In the second period it was the Japanese that scored after a long period of pressing the Swedes into their own zone. Japan were able to change personnel three times whilst the tiring Swedes failed to clear the puck. Eventually the Japanese pressure paid off and Rui Ukita equalized, to the joy of the partisan crowd.

Whilst Japan would win the match in terms of shots taken with 31-26, it was Sweden who sealed the victory with a goal from Sara Hjälmarsson after 1:53 of the third period. The 20-year-old is her fourth season with AIK, and whilst she may have the same surname as Arizona Coyotes back, Niklas Hjälmarsson, the two are not related. It was the speed of Sweden's counterattack that beat the solid Japanese and Hjälmarsson will be hoping to improve on her Bronze she has from the U18 World Championship in this, her first Olympics.

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