Yesterday the Women’s Olympic hockey tournament began in Sochi, Team USA and Team Canada were the two winners of the first day, today Team Sweden took on Team Japan, and Team Russia will face-off against Team Germany a little bit later on (8:00 AM Eastern).
The Swedes edged Team Japan 1-0 in a close game, they barely out-shot the Japanese (23-19), and ended up scoring on the power play during the first period and successfully held the narrow lead. Jenni Asserholt, 25 year old with previous Olympic experience in 2006 and 2010, was the goal scorer for Sweden.
From Sweden’s perspective, the program is attempting to rebound as it has slipped a bit in recent years. They remain the only nation other than the U.S. or Canada to finish with anything better than the bronze in the Olympics, as they grabbed silver in 2006. They hope to build back up to that level gradually.
The Japanese will not be taken lightly after their showing against Sweden, this may only be their second tournament appearance, but they seem poised to make some noise.
On the other hand, Japan is a surprise entrant in the event. This is the country’s second all-time Olympic appearance in the event after 1998′s automatic bid. Speaking of which, Yonko Kondo bridges that gap, as the 35-year-old was on that team in Nagano.
Team Sweden will play their second game of the tournament against Germany on February 11th, and Team Japan will take on the hosts Russia on the 11th as well.