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Germany achieves goal despite ousting at women's hockey worlds

04/07/2013 12:27 EDT | Updated 06/06/2013 05:12 EDT
OTTAWA – There have been more than a few bone-chilling nights when Germany forward Julia Zorn wondered whether she made the right choice to play the game she now holds closest to her heart.

Zorn was a goaltender on a boy's team for a dozen years, playing in a rink near Munich that was open to the elements at one end of the ice, and there were nights when a howling wind would send a shiver down her spine.

"We'd be winning 10-0 and I would just be standing there for an hour, doing nothing,'' she said Saturday after Germany’s 1-0 loss to Finland in the quarter-finals of the women's world hockey championship. "It was kind of boring and kind of cold."

The Finns advanced to Monday's semifinal against the United States, while Russia, a 2-1 quarter-final winner over in Switzerland, faces Canada in the other semifinal, also on Monday.

The losers of the semis play for bronze on Tuesday before the winners meet in the gold-medal final.

Germany plays Switzerland on Monday in the game to decide fifth and sixth place, and win or lose, Zorn and her teammates have already accomplished one of their goals in the eight-team tournament.

"Our first goal was to stay in the top division and we made it. It is tough to lose but now we can finish in fifth place, which is huge for us,'' she said. "We were seventh last year."

Zorn was the starting goalie for Germany at the first U18 event for women in Calgary in 2008, and she spent the next three seasons switching from stopping the puck to trying to score.

She started playing forward fulltime last season in an effort to help Germany return back to the world A Pool, which it did.

Zorn said the transition from goalie to forward wasn't easy.

"Hockey is still hockey,'' she said. "I had to learn a lot of things and my skating sucked so bad. When you play out, you play systems but when you are a goalie, your task is just to catch the puck.

"It is totally different. Even the fitness you need is different."

Zorn has loved her time at the world championship. The 5,406 spectators at the quarter-final game against Finland at SBP Arena was the most ever she has played in front of, and as an added attraction there wasn't a chilly wind making for trying elements.

"In our league games, we get 50 people. This is an NHL arena. It is really, really cold in our home rink."

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