South Korea shut out Japan 3-0 to close out the Euro Ice Hockey Challenge (EIHC) tournament on home ice Saturday.
South Korea scored two power-play goals in the second period for only its second victory against Japan in 22 meetings.
South Korea finished the four-nation tournament with two wins and a loss. The 23rd-ranked team upset world No. 13 Denmark 4-2 on Thursday, and lost to the 19th-ranked Hungary on Friday before beating the 21st-ranked Japan.
South Korea, Denmark and Hungary all ended the tournament with two wins and a loss apiece, but Denmark was declared the champion thanks to its tiebreaker edge. South Korea finished in third, while Japan, with three losses, ended in last.
Against Japan, South Korea capitalized on a 5-on-3 power play just under three minutes into second period, as defenseman Eric Regan beat goalie Takuto Onoda with a one-timer from the point.
In another power play about 10 minutes later, Michael Swift doubled South Korea's lead with a slap shot from the top of the face-off circle to the right of Onoda.
Barely a minute into the third, Kim Won-jun scored on a wrister from the point, fooling Onoda on the glove side to make it 3-0 South Korea.
South Korea goalie Matt Dalton made 19 saves for the shutout.
Swift scored once and assisted on two others to pace the South Korean offense. On the other end, Onoda stopped 37 of 40 shots, keeping the score respectable for Japan with some spectacular saves.
With Japan only represented by young and relatively unproven players, South Korea dominated possession for most of the game, and outshot Japan 29-8 through two periods. Japan took a whopping nine penalties in the game.
When Japan battled back to salvage a goal late in the third, Dalton stood his ground in the net and preserved the shutout.
The EIHC is a series of friendly tournaments, held during the international breaks set by the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) in September, November, December and February. The tournaments have mostly taken place in Europe but have also been held in Japan. South Korea is hosting an EIHC event for the first time.
South Korea earlier won an EIHC tournament in Hungary in November.
The EIHC here was South Korea's last competition before the Asian Winter Games in Sapporo, Japan, starting on Feb. 19. South Korea will seek to win its first men's hockey gold medal at the continental competition, with Kazakhstan and Japan also expected to be strong contenders. (Yonhap)