The Korean women’s ice hockey team, ranked 22nd, won 3-1 in a friendly match against France, ranked 13th, winning a game for the first time in seven months.
The last time they picked up a win was against the Netherlands during the final round of the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) Women’s World Championship Division IIA.
Since the team’s victory in Division IIA in April, they focused on playing against top teams rather than winning games to gain more experience for the PyeongChang Olympics. Korea started in July with two friendly matches against Sweden, ranked 5th; Switzerland, ranked 6th; and France.
In September, the team left to the United States to play against one of the top ranked teams in the NCAA, the University of Minnesota and University of Wisconsin. But in those 14 friendly matches, Korea failed to pick up a win.
On Sunday against France, the team had three starting players out due to injuries: Park Jong-ah, Han Soo-jin and Lee Eun-ji. Less than five minutes into the game, France nailed a power play goal.
But Korea tied the lead in the first period at 17:26 thanks to Grace Lee’s goal, then took a 2-1 lead with Kim Se-lin’s goal in the second period at 9:37.
Korea’s goaltender, Shin So-jung, kept the lead safe by recording 22 saves.
Finally, with only 27 seconds left in the game, Eom Su-yeon scored an empty net goal.
Overall, Korea made 40 shots on target, compared to France’s 23.
The team returns to Korea today and will go to Jincheon National Training Centre on Nov. 20, as they will be leaving to the United States the next day for off-season training.
At the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics, Korea is assigned to Group B with Sweden, Switzerland and Japan, ranked ninth.
BY KIM WON [email@example.com]