Japan entered the ice in the game against Slovakia unbeaten. Slovakia was forced to take three points to keep their dreams of Paralympics alive. Dream Japan and the star defender #2 Wataru Horie shattered by winning with 4-2, sending Slovakia out of reach for Pyeongchang.
Wataru Horie have been noted for five assists in the first two games of the tournament. Against Slovakia it was his stick who fired two shots, out of reach for the slovak goaltender Eduard Lepacek to stop. A goal hungry Worie together with a great playing Takahashi and the defending colleague and captain Satouro Sudo makes Japan an unstoppable team in Östersund. The slovaks was down by three goals after one period, all done in eleven minutes.
Though, the youngster Martin Joppa didn’t wanna give away a win to Japan that easy. Starting really aggressive in the second period, he finally found the net in the third period after a great performance dribbling from the neutral zone. Joppas 3-2 goal did bring some life to the game, but Worie wasn’t satisfied with just assisting to one goal and scoring one. Halfway into the crucial third period, he scored his second goal of the game and sent Slovakia away from the 2018 Paralympics.
After three games played, Japan have claimed 9 points out of 9 possible. Slovakia, who played all of their games, will stay on two points after an overtime victory against Sweden.
Tomorrow Japan will be facing Czech Republic in their last game of the tournament. Both teams have three wins and will be playing about the glory of being undefeated in Östersund, starting 15:00. In tomorrows early game, Sweden and Germany will be playing about the last ticket to Pyeongchang. Sweden, with only one point, will be forced to win the game in order to qualify for Paralympics.
”We still have one more game to play, but I am happy and the team are happy after qualifying. We will focus on the next game, but maybe after tomorrow I’ll be crying and be more happy” – Wataru Horie, Japans man of the match.
Japan – Slovakia
Result: 4 – 2 (3-0, 0-0, 1-2)
Scorer: 1-0, 0:45 #2, Wataru Horie, (Kumagai, Takahashi).
2-0, 8:57 #70 Nao Kodama, (Sudo).
3-0, 10:01 #96 Masaharu Kumagai, (Worie).
3-1, 31:56 #11 Marian Ligda, (Vecerek)
3-2, 36:19 #25 Martin Joppa, (Raus)
4-2, 38:57 #2 Wataru Horie, (Takahashi)
Shots: 13 – 15
Penalty: (Japan) 11:13, #16 Shiba. 2 min, holding.
29:54, #40 Shioya. 2 min, teeing.
41:17, #2 Horie. 2 min, holding.
(Slovakia) 36:49, #2 Gergely. 2 min, interference.
Best player: Japan: #2 Wataru Horie
Slovakia: #10 Peter Stit (C)