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1ST LEAD A goal at last for combined Korean hockey team, but another defeat By Andre Leslie, dpa

Europe, Europa
14.02.2018
By our dpa-correspondent and Europe Online    auf Facebook posten  Auf Twitter posten  
Gangneung, South Korea (dpa) - The combined Korean women‘s ice hockey team lost their third straight game at the Olympics on Wednesday, but finally managed to score their first goal of the Games in a much improved performance against Japan. 

The newly-formed side, which lost its first two group games 8-0, once again started poorly despite rapturous support at the Kwandong Hockey Centre. Both Hanae Kubo and Shoko Ono scored for Japan within the first five minutes. 

But in the second period the Korean side was able to celebrate its first goal of the Games, when Randi Heesoo Griffin scored after an assist from Park Yoonjung.

The two players have US connections - Harvard-educated Griffin has an American father and was granted Korean citizenship only last year, while Park was adopted by a family from the United States at 4 months and became a US citizen, also known as Marissa Brandt, obtaining Korean citizenship in 2016.

"It‘s good that we scored a goal in the Olympics. It‘s definitely something that we talked about," Griffin said.

"We don‘t want to leave the Olympics not having scored a goal. It feels great to have one under our belt."

The goal raised the noise levels in in the Kwandong Hockey Centre, and Griffin said of the atmosphere: "It‘s electric. It‘s a really awesome feeling to have that support.

"After the goal the energy in the arena was something we were definitely feeding off. It‘s awesome."

Korea‘s Canadian coach Sarah Murray said: "It‘s incredible after all the pressure and everything that‘s happening to our team to get a goal and actually win that (second) period. It felt really good.

"It was so loud after Randi scored we couldn‘t even hear each other talk on the bench. We just kind of gave each a hug."

Japan then took the final score to 4-1 in the third thanks to goals from Shiori Koike and Rui Ukita.

"They are pretty devastated, it was a tough loss," Murray said of her team‘s reaction to defeat.

"This last game we thought we had a chance, we were playing well. It could have gone either way. If we could have gotten the first goal it could have changed the whole thing."

Twelve players, accompanied by two assistants and one coach, from North Korea joined 23 South Koreans to form a squad of 35 for the Games on special dispensation from the International Olympic Committee. Only 22, with at least four North Korean players, can be picked each match.

 

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