The Yomiuri Shimbun SOCHI—Germany blanked “Smile Japan” 4-0 as Japan ended Group B women’s ice hockey action at the Sochi Olympics winless in three games and at the bottom of the group.
Germany finished third in Group B at 1-2. Both countries will head to the classification round to decide places five through eight.
Japan scrambled in the closing moments, pulling the goalie for a sixth attacker in hopes of avoiding a shutout, but Germany slid the puck into the back of the empty goal to make it 4-0.
The loss left the team dejected even though Japan had already lost it chance at a medal when it fell to host Russia on Tuesday.
The players looked to regroup for their final group game, but that wasn’t reflected in the outcome, and the normally snappy play of Japan wasn’t on display.
Despite a lack of sharp play, Japan outshot Germany, and in the second period an Ayaka Toko pass set up Ami Nakamura in front of the goal and the team created a number of scoring opportunities.
But, just like in the previous two games, they were unable to convert the chances into a goal.
Smile Japan’s only score in three games came in the loss to Russia.
“We came into this thinking that we were a good team, but things just aren’t that easy,” Nakamura said.
Japan’s inability to finish around the goal came in part because of solid defense by its opponents.
Goalie Nana Fujimoto was impressed by the teams Smile Japan faced.
“Their shots come in heavy and I’ve got bruises all over my body to show it,” she said. “Their passes were as fast as shots,” she said, emphasizing the difference she saw in Japan’s opponents.
Coach Yuji Iizuka was asked whether he would put focus on getting a victory after the loss to Russia.
“One win isn’t going to be enough,” he said. “We have to aim for getting fifth place.”