The story of the second period was Japan and their power play. The special teams unit of Ito, Haruka Toko, Yoshino Enomoto, Ayaka Hitosato and Akane Shiga scored three goals in the second half to tie the game 3-3. Prior to this game, Japan had had only four power play chances and no goals scored with the player advantage.
“Before in this tournament, we didn’t really have much luck on the power play,” Toko said. “After the first period, our head coach told [tie the game] one by one.”
Toko got his stick on a loose puck next to Soderberg to start Japan’s comeback. A minute and 18 seconds later, Enomoto scored from a wide-open net after a flurry of attempts from her teammates. Toko picked up his third point of the match by assisting Japan’s equalizer, a wrist from Ito.
“I was trying to do what, in practices, the things that we were working on with the coaches,” Ito said. “During the game I did it, I’m so happy I did it.”
“They scored three goals in the second, so we just wanted to calm things down and do a good job in the third and push hard to score,” Carlsson said. “It wasn’t enough this time.”
Japan scored their fourth unanswered goal in the third period, this time at even strength. Shiga passed to Toko, who used his backhand to lift the puck over Soderberg for his second goal of the game.
The game continued to come and go, with Soderberg and Mashuara busy. While Toko led the way for Japan, for Sweden it was Olsson who led the attacking charge. Storming the ice in a 2-on-1 with Sarah Hjalmarsson, Olsson tied the game at 4-4, his third point of the game.
Remi Koyama scored his first senior national team goal with just 2:48 left in the third, putting the puck into the bottom left corner of the net and giving Japan a 5-4 lead.
“It was a determined goal,” Toko said. “It made me so happy.”
Sweden pulled Soderberg out in the final two minutes but were unable to send the game into extra time to extend his stay in Denmark.
“It’s a tough loss now, but if you look at it, in a moment we’ll probably think we did a good job in the preliminary round and a good game against Canada, and we didn’t come all the way. this time,” Carlson said. “But I guess we’ll keep working to get even better positions at Worlds. We’ll just keep working hard.”