Shoko Nihonyanagi scored a hat trick and added an assist, while Chiaki Yamanaka had a goal and three assists and Yurie Adanchi added four helpers as Japan picked up its first win of the National Women’s Under-19 Program Evaluation Camp with a 6-1 victory over Team Canada Red on Saturday night in Calgary.
The Japanese win means Team Canada White and Team Canada Black will meet in the championship game on Sunday afternoon, while it will be a rematch between Japan and Canada Red in the third-place game Sunday morning.
Yamanaka got Japan on the board first, just moments after a disallowed Canada Red goal, picking up the puck in the slot and picking the top corner over the glove hand of goaltender Lisa Plenderleith (North York, ON).
Canada Red tied the game with just over two minutes left in the opening frame, as Rebecca Johnston (Sudbury, ON) tipped a shot from Kali Gillanders (Kyle, SK) past Japanese goaltender Azusa Nakaoku, pulling the Canadians even on a powerplay.
Despite holding a 12-5 advantage on shots in the first 20 minutes, Canada Red entered the intermission tied 1-1.
Japan struck quickly in the second period, as Nihonyanagi beat Plenderleith on a wraparound for her first goal of the game, and the tournament.
A pair of point shots, the first from Mai Takahashi and the second from Yoko Kondo, less than two minutes apart late in the middle frame gave the Japanese a commanding, and somewhat surprising, 4-1 lead heading into the second intermission.
The start of the third period brought a goaltending change for Canada Red, as Hillary Pattenden (Surrey, BC) replaced Plenderleith between the pipes.
Despite continued pressure from Canada Red, it was Japan who scored the period’s first goal, as Nihonyanagi finished off a beautiful cross-crease feed from Yamanaka for her second goal of the game, this one coming on the powerplay.
The goal, which was scored near the midway point of the period, came on Japan’s first shot of the third, and just their 11th shot of the game.
Nihonyanagi rounded out the scoring with her hat trick marker, beating Pattenden with just 24 seconds to go.
The Canadians outshot the Japanese 41-14 overall, but will have to settle for a rematch on Sunday for third place.