Unified Korean Women's Ice Hockey Team Loses to Switzerland 8-0

Write : 2018-02-10 23:27:58 Update : 2018-02-10 23:28:46

Unified Korean Women's Ice Hockey Team Loses to Switzerland 8-0

A unified women’s ice hockey team from the two Koreas fell to Switzerland 8-0 in their first preliminary match at the PyeongChang Winter Olympics on Saturday. 

Alina Muller scored four goals for the Swiss team, including three in the first period, while Phoebe Staenz chipped in with two in the second period. Lara Stalder added two more in the third. 

The Korean team, consisting of 23 from the South and 12 from the North, faced an uphill battle early on against the sixth-ranked team, which won a bronze medal at the Sochi Games. The 22nd-ranked South, led by American coach Sarah Murray, began training with the 25th-ranked North only about two weeks ago. 

However, the event drew an attention not only for a result but also for its political symbolism as a debut stage for the first-ever joint Olympic team South and North Korea assembled.  

The venue, Kwandong Hockey Center in sub-host city Gangneung, was packed with six-thousand spectators, including South Korean President Moon Jae-in and a high-ranking North Korean delegation, including the regime’s nominal head of state Kim Yong-nam.

The two Koreas also fielded a unified team several times previously, but all at smaller sporting events, including the 1991 World Table Tennis Championships where they won the women’s doubles. 

At the Saturday’s ice hockey event, three North Korean athletes were given the chance to play, including Jong Su-hyon, Kim Un-hyang and Hwang Chung-gum, who carried a unified flag along with South Korea’s male bobsleigh athlete Won Yun-jong during the two Korea’s joint march at the opening ceremony of the PyeongChang Games on Friday. 

Meanwhile, in the other Group B preliminary match held early in the day, Sweden beat Japan 2-1.  
The unified Korean team will next face Sweden at 9:10 p.m. on Monday and Japan at 9:10 p.m. on Wednesday. 

Top two teams from Group B will advance to the playoffs, where they will face stronger Group A teams.

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