Israel outlasts Japan in 8-7 overtime thriller

SURREY, ENGLAND — The Israel women’s national team advanced to the Quarterfinals of the 2017 FIL Women’s World Cup with a thrilling 8-7 overtime win over 9th-ranked Japan at Surrey Sports Park on Tuesday.

Alison Curwin scored the game-winning goal with 21 seconds left in the third overtime period.

With the victory, Israel (5-0) will take on the top-seeded United States (5-0) in the Quarterfinals on Wednesday. Gametime will be announced later this evening.

The game was a low-scoring affair with Japan clinging to a one or two goal lead for most of the match. The score was tied 2-2 at halftime and 4-4 heading into the final 15 minutes.

Japan’s Nana Konishi scored back-to-back goals to give Japan what appeared to be an insurmountable 6-4 lead heading into the final 10 minutes. The speedy Japanese squad had success running out the clock, but the Israelis were creative forcing turnovers — at one point pulling goaltender Alex Freedman for the extra runner — to collect some late precious possessions.

After an exciting series of plays got the ball back for Israel, Jessi Steinberg scored the game-tying goal on a feed from her twin sister Ali with just four seconds left in regulation.

Saori Hieda scored just 20 seconds into overtime to give Japan a 7-6 lead. Curwin answered back with 1:22 remaining to force a third period.

Jessi Steinberg finished with a team-leading four goals for Israel, while Curwin added two goals and one assist. Courtney Miller added one goal and one assist, while Ali Steinberg chipped in two assists and Emma Lazaroff had one goal.

Alex Freedman (68:40, 7 saves, 7 GA) earned the win in goal.

Thu, Jul 13 – Israel 17, Netherlands 3
Fri, Jul 14 – Israel 16, Czech Republic 8
Sun, Jul 16 – Israel 18, China 0
Mon, Jul 17 – Israel 18, Belgium 0
Tue, Jul 18 – Israel 8, Japan 7 (OT; first-round playoff)
Wed, Jul 19 at TBD – Israel vs #1 United States (Quarterfinals)
*Semifinals are on July 20th

Additional caps – Sarah Andersen, Nikol Baglay, Jenna Baverman, Gabriela Cheban, Kim Dubansky, Leah Israel, Megan Lerner, Sarah Meisenberg, Blaire Nathanson, Rachel Ozer, Jayme Verman