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(Olympics) N. Korean forward back in lineup for joint hockey team vs. Japan

2018/02/14 16:10

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By Yoo Jee-ho

GANGNEUNG, South Korea, Feb. 14 (Yonhap) -- North Korean forward Jong Su-hyon returned to the lineup of the joint Korean women's hockey team at the PyeongChang Winter Olympics on Wednesday.

Jong is one of four North Koreans dressed for the final Group B game against Japan, alongside 18 South Koreans, at Kwandong Hockey Centre in Gangneung, host of all ice sports during PyeongChang 2018.

Jong played in the team's first game against Switzerland last Saturday on the second line but sat out the next match against Sweden with a wrist injury. Head coach Sarah Murray and a few players have raved about Jong's hockey sense and smarts. She will be on the fourth line against Japan.

At least three out of 22 players in the lineup for each game must be from North Korea, as per terms set by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) last month for the combined team. Joining Jong in the North Korean contingent were forwards Kim Un-hyang and Kim Hyang-mi, and defenseman Hwang Chung-gum. Murray used three North Koreans in two previous games.

The joint Korean women's hockey team practices at Kwandong Hockey Training Centre in Gangneung, Gangwon Province, on Feb. 13, 2018. (Yonhap) The joint Korean women's hockey team practices at Kwandong Hockey Training Centre in Gangneung, Gangwon Province, on Feb. 13, 2018. (Yonhap)

Kim Un-hyang and Hwang will be making their third straight appearance, while Kim Hyang-mi will be making her Olympic debut.

For the third straight game, North Koreans are spread across the bottom three lines, as Murray made some line changes.

Forward Choi Ji-yeon, who recorded five shots on net against Sweden, moved up from third line to second line, trading places with Kim Hee-won.

Caroline Park has gone from the fourth line to the third, next to Randi Heesoo Griffin and Kim Hee-won.

The fourth unit had five forwards listed, including Jong, though they likely won't get much ice time given Murray's reliance on her top three lines so far in the tournament.

The 23 South Korean and 12 North Korean players have been training together since late January. While the IOC bent the rules so that Korea could have 35 players on its entry -- all other nations have 23 -- the game roster of 22, with 20 skaters and two goaltenders, was left unchanged.

Aside from injured forward Lee Eun-ji, there were three South Korean healthy scratches: forwards Lee Yeon-jeong and Jung Si-yun, and defender Cho Mi-hwan.

jeeho@yna.co.kr

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