When you hear Japan, the last thing you would probably ever think of is the sport of hockey. However, Team Japan‘s women’s team is showing up to play in these 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, largely due to their Canadian coach Carla MacLeod, who is related to NHL Hall of Famer Maurice “The Rocket” Richard.
Before the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, the Japanese women’s ice hockey team were frankly a punching bag in this sport, losing every single game they have ever played in their Olympic history by at least a five goal margin. You cannot say easy win better than Team Japan’s women’s ice hockey team, but not this year.
No, they still haven’t won a game yet in the Olympics, but the improvement is extremely evident in their game due to coach MacLeod.
In the four games Team Japan has played in these Olympics, there was no game in which they lost by five or more goals. Their biggest margin of defeat was four goals at the hands of Team Germany. Other than that one game though, twice has Team Japan only lost by one goal and just today lost by three to Team Russia in the Women’s Classification Playoff Rounds.
As you can see, the improvement in their game shows greatly by the final scores of their games. I mean, these 2014 Winter Olympics are in Russia, meaning their women’s ice hockey team should have a tremendous advantage when facing Team Japan, but not this year. In the two games that they have faced Team Russia, Japan has lost 2-1 in their first matchup and now 6-3 this afternoon, with the score being a one goal game in the third period, until Russia tacked on two late goals to seal the deal.
Scoring goals, establishing a forecheck, playing smarter hockey, and keeping the opposition on their toes are all things Team Japan has never done until these Winter Olympics, and a lot of the credit has to go to coach MacLeod.
The Japan women will not win a game in these Olympics, but there is definitely a lot to look forward to and see just how much they improve in another four years.