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 Germany 4, Slovakia 2
 Japan 4, Austria 3
 France 5, Italy 1

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Japan 4, Austria 3

Thursday, February 12, 1998; 1:31 a.m. EST

NAGANO, Japan (AP) — Shin Yahata lifted a backhander past Reinhard Divis in the eighth round of a shootout, giving Japan its first Olympic hockey victory since 1976.

The 3-2 shootout over Austria on Thursday, after a 3-all tie in regulation, gave Japan 13th place in the tournament.

The goal by Yahata, who had scored in regulation, sent the highly partisan crowd into flag-waving, chanting frenzy. Fans did a two-handed banzai wave while the players raced onto the ice and then took a victory lap.

Goaltender Dusty Imoo stopped six of eight Austrian chances in the shootout.

Japan had its chances to win in the 10-minute overtime, getting three shots in one flurry at Divis 6 1/2 minutes in. They also were put on the power play with 2:11 remaining, but failed to create a quality opportunity.

Japan rallied three times and twice did it by converting power plays.

Japan got a break on its third goal, when when Tsutsumi Otomo's backhand shot struck Dominik Lavoie in the leg and deflected into the goal.

© Copyright 1998 The Associated Press

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