Gangneung Hockey Centre Errupts after Korea Find the Net



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Tonight the women of the joint Korean Hockey team found the back of the net for the first time, creating a crowd pleasing memory that will surely go down in Olympic history.

Randi Heesoo Griffin took a pass from Park Yoonjung and fought her way up the right wing, managing to get the puck on the Japan goaltender Akane Konishi, and it dribbled between her pads.

Korea had come close a few times before, particularly in the later periods of their second game against Sweden, but hadn't been able to capitalise. When they broke through finally almost exactly halfway through the game, the crowd erupted with a roar, with thousands of white and blue unification flags.

Following two heavy losses in their opening games, Korea and Japan looked evenly matched for long portions of the match.

Japan opened the scoring just over a minute into the game when Hanae Kubo one-timed a pass in front of the net from team mate Haruka Toko past Korean goalie Shin So Jung.

About two minutes later, Shoko Ono scored on the power play with Korea's Griffin in the penalty box for cross checking, knocking home a rebound on a shot from Shiori Koike.

Japan's Koike provided an insurance goal late in the third period, and then Rui Ukita put it away with an empty netter with just over a minute to play.

The event was rife with political and cultural overtones, with fans waving flags depicting a unified Korea, some showing the disputed Japanese islands of Dokdo.

Tensions have long simmered between the two countries following Japan's colonization of the Korean peninsula between 1910 and 1945.

The Korean team have captured the attention of a global audience at the Olympics since it was decided to include 12 players from the North on the team. It has been seen by many as a beacon for the “Peace Olympics”.

The final score was 4-1 in favour of Japan.

(Reuters)
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