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Japan and New Zealand finished in style – 25.01.2015

Japan play New Zealand in their last game to top the Asia-Oceania Qualifiers while New Zealand play for pride in their first international tournament.
New Zealand held a tight defence and even had some forward pressure before Japan scored their first goal through Anna Kurata assisted by Rei Goto in the seventh minute. Hitomi Sugaya scored two minutes later assisted by Midori Sawaguchi.
Jane Bertschinger received a penalty for an incorrect hit to allow Japan another opportunity to score. New Zealand kept up their defensive pressure to keep the score 2-0 at the end of the first period.

Japan used a lot of passing trying to find a way through the New Zealand defence but Maria Hegarty in goals and an improved structure gave them nothing. With 1 minute 13 to go Sophie Scott from New Zealand tackled badly and was penalised. Japan could not score and it was the first goalless period of the tournament.

After the period break Japan continued their power play but as New Zealand went back to full strength Japan scored through Miho Nakagawa assisted by Miku Kato.

With three minutes remaining in the game Uran Sakamoto (Japan) was penalised for holding. While still in the power play Kathryn Blake (New Zealand) was penalised for handling the ball to make it four versus four. Japan controlled the ball until going back to full strength. New Zealand fought until the final whistle not conceding another goal, going down finally 3-0.

Japan take the gold medal and New Zealand take the morale victory.

Best players
Japan: Anna Kurata
New Zealand: Maria Hegarty

Photo: Mel Lyons / WEFCQ 2015 AOFC LOC