International Ice Hockey Federation

Japan stays, Germany goes

Aoki’s OT winner keeps Japanese up for 2016

Published 03.04.2015 17:07 GMT+2 | Author Lucas Aykroyd
Japan stays, Germany goes
MALMO, SWEDEN - APRIL 3: Team Japan salutes their fans after a 2-1 victory over Team Germany during relegation round action at the 2015 IIHF Ice Hockey Women's World Championship. (Photo by Francois Laplante/HHOF-IIHF Images)
Kanae Aoki’s power play goal at 2:32 of overtime gave Japan a 2-1 victory over Germany and a berth at the 2016 IIHF World Women’s Championship.

The winner came with Germany’s Tanja Eisenschmid serving a delay-of-game minor.

Japan won two straight games in the best-of-three relegation series to book its ticket to Kamloops, Canada. It was a monumental moment for the courageous Japanese team, which has only avoided being sent down once in its elite Women’s Worlds history (2008).

Germany outshot Japan 22-19, and as always, goaltender Nana Fujimoto was a big story for the white-and-red squad. She finished the tournament with a 1.52 GAA and 93.7 save percentage.

Rui Ukita, just 18 years old, chipped in two assists and finished as Japan’s scoring leader with six points.

Despite their solid work ethic, the Germans’ inability to score more cost them dearly. They tallied just five goals in five games in Malmo. They’re going down to Division I for the first time since being relegated in 2008.

Just 4:01 into the first period, Ami Nakamura opened the scoring with Japan’s fourth power play goal at these Women’s Worlds.

The Germans responded with a man-advantage marker of their own at 4:42 of the second period when Anna-Maria Fiegert potted her second goal of the tournament.

In this penalty-laden affair, Japan was fortunate not to surrender a goal in the third, when it took three consecutive hooking minors.