Sara Hjalmarsson’s early third-period goal propelled Team Sweden to a 2-1 victory over Team Japan in the first women’s game of the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics played at the Kwandong Hockey Centre.
Sweden’s forward, Erika Grahm forced a turnover in the offensive zone and delivered a backhanded pass to Hjalmarsson to break a 1-1 tie at 1:53 of the final frame.
Nana Fujimoto made 25 saves for Japan including an impressive breakaway save late in the first period. Sweden’s forward Rebecca Stenberg skated in all alone after a beautiful outlet pass from her defender, but could not light the lamp. A scramble ensued in front of the net after the breakaway attempt, but Japan safely cleared the puck out of danger.
Rui Ukita erased a one-goal deficit for Japan when she scored her first of the tournament at 16:52 of the middle frame. The Japanese had an extended shift in the offensive zone and eventually capitalize on the opportunity. It was the first time Japan scored against Sweden in Olympic play.
Fanny Rask opened the scoring 2:21 into the contest when she lifted a shot over the shoulder of Fujimoto.
Japan outshot Sweden in the first 40 minutes 20-17 but the Swedish netminder, Sara Grahn was a steadying force for the blue and yellow.
3,762 attended the first match on the women’s side.