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Japan takes it all in Shoot out Win over Hungary


J.J. Pavlick

The formula for winning the tournament is straightforward for Japan and Hungary. Win today and you take 1at place. Hungary shined in their first two games beating Slovakia 7-6 and Norway 3-0, they dropped a heartbreaker to France late in OT 3 – 2. Japan comes in having beaten Slovakia 10 – 0 and Norway 7 – 0. The two teams are separated by 1 point, Hungary 7 and Japan 6. The two teams’ playing styles are very different as well, Hungary plays a more European game while Japan who is still fairly new to hockey plays a more American/Canadian style. The major reason for Japan’s style is how the program was set up and is currently run. Having adopted the game by playing against the U.S. and Canada often they sent their coaches to learn from the junior program in Canada and the minors in the United States. They took that knowledge and have started seeing some results. Granted they’re nowhere near beating Team USA, Canada, Germany, Russia, and the other giants anytime soon they can now play with other nations and have more respectable outcomes.

The first period saw Japan jump out to an early 1 – 0 lead when Yamashita Hikaru caused the Hungarian defender to mishandle the puck in front of the goal and Hikaru fired a wrister into the seven-hole from the slot. The goal was unassisted at the 3:12 mark of the opening period. Things calmed down a little bit between the two teams, but Hungary hasn’t looked like the Dominate team we’ve seen in their previous 3 games. Could be a fatigue factor as they’re one of two teams who played four games this tournament. Japan is playing only its third and final match today and looks fresher out there. Hungary would respond with a goal of their own at the 7:33 mark of the period. Metzler Regina found space at the point and fired a low-driven missile over the outstretched pad of the Japanese goalie. The goal was assisted by Mayer Fruzsina and Ronai Alexandra. Then it was Japan who would answer back when Miura Mei found space in the slot and went top shelf to take a 2 – 1 lead just twenty-seven seconds after Hungary tied it up. The goal was assisted by Toko Haruka and Ukita Rui. Things would go back and forth till Hungary went on the PP and scored at the 18:09 mark to tie the game up 2 – 2. Kiss-Simon Franciska blasted home a loose puck going seven-hole from the left dot area. Emma Kreisz had the lone assist. The period would finish in a 2 – 2 tie between the clubs.

The second period was filled with fast skating back-and-forth action that saw both goalies rise to the challenge and keep clean sheets for the period. There were a few minor penalties called and all were killed off with relative ease by the penalty-killing lines. Japan is the faster team out there today. Hungary is doing everything it can to slow the Japanese rushes and clear the zone fast. We’ve been used to seeing Hungary establish the offensive zone and move defenses out of position but today that hasn’t been the case at all except for the first power play.

The third period saw Japan reclaim the lead just two minutes and thirty seconds in when Ukita Rui again found room in the slot and beat the Hungarian keeper top shelf. It’s been a tough tournament debut for the Hungarian goalie Nemeth Aniko Krisztina. The goal was assisted by Yamashita Shiori and Noro Riri. Japan went into full defensive keep away from Hungary making them have to skate every inch of the ice and work to get the puck and enter the offensive zone. Hungary finally broke through and found some prime goal-scoring space when Knee Sarah Donia picked off a bad pass by Japan and made them pay with a beautiful dangle to forehand wrister top shelf to tie the game up late 3 -3 at the 18:50 mark of the period. Both teams would get two more solid chances to win in regulation but both goalies came up big. The period would end 3 – 3 and we would head to 5-minute overtime of 3 on 3.

The overtime period saw both teams trying to find a gap and Hungary had the best chance of the period when Reka Dabasi was wide open in the slot for a breakaway. Unfortunately, the pass was not placed well and missed her by a good foot hitting the end boards instead. The overtime period would see the score remain tied and we headed to the shootout.

The shootout went 7 rounds before we had a winner, Japan opened the shootout with a goal unfortunately, couldn’t tell you how it was scored due to technical difficulties with the stream. Hungary would miss their first attempt. Rounds 2 – 4 would see both teams miss their attempts and Japan would hold their 1 – 0 lead heading into the final round. Japan would miss their chance to win when their shooter was denied trying to go five-hole. Hungary would make them pay when Metropolitan Riveters Reka Dabasi stepped up and went with the Forsberg to beat the Japanese goalie and tie the shootout 1 – 1. Dabasi would go again and use the toe drag to blast a hard wrister past the goalie top-shelf glove side. If the Hungarian keeper makes the save Hungary would win it all, but Japan’s shooter would beat the goalie top shelf. Dabasi would go again for Hungary, and she tried the five-hole, but the Japanese goalie stood tall and then the Japanese shooter would go in and win it for Japan going blocker side top shelf. It was a heartbreaking loss for Hungary, but it showed Hungary can compete with Europe and Asia.

Video Credit to @balazsdabasi

Reka Dabasi came up big for her team unfortunately penalty shots in hockey are more in favor of the goalies than the shooters. Having to go three times in a row is a tough thing to do, as there are only so many shot types one can take. She had an amazing tournament for her country and showed the world how talented she is. She ended the tournament with 1 goal, 4 assists, 5 points, and 2 shootout goals. Her fellow teammate for both with country and club Fanni Garat-Gasparics ended the tournament with 4 goals and 1 assist. Both showed the world their talent and value. The Riveters of the Professional Hockey Federation (PHF) will be more than happy to see the success in Hungary translate to success on the ice for the club. The Riveters need every point they can get to close out the season if they want any chance at hitting the 4th seed which is believed to be the cutoff spot for this year’s PHF playoffs though the league has yet to confirm the qualifications yet for this season. It was great covering the five nations tournament and it is now a goal to get overseas to cover one live.

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