Japan Olympic ice hockey forward Ukita banned for one game

Rui Ukita of Japan scores against Sweden during the women’s preliminary round ice hockey match between Japan and Sweden during the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at the Kwandong Hockey Centre in Gangneung on February 10, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / Brian Snyder

Japanese women’s forward Rui Ukita was suspended for one game of the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics on Sunday by the International Ice Hockey Federation due to a kicking incident against Sweden.

Ukita will miss Monday’s group-stage contest against Switzerland but will be able to return for Wednesday’s game against the United North and South Korean women.

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The violation came with 48 seconds remaining in Japan's loss Saturday to Sweden. During a puck battle in front of the Swedish bench, Sweden's Annie Svedin pushed Ukita to the ice.

While Svedin was over Ukita, the Japanese player made a kicking action directed to the lower body of the Swede.

A disciplinary panel, based on videos and other evidence, determined the kick was not mere momentum of the play but a clear leg movement in Svedin's direction.

Although the announcement said the panel did not believe Ukita intended to injure Svedin, the swinging kick so near a rival was a violation.

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