21 October 2021 Dynamo-Neva, Vanke Rays, WHL
KRS Vanke Rays 4 Dynamo Neva 3 OT (0-0, 2-2, 1-1, 1-0)
The Vanke Rays secured back-to-back victories over table-topping Dynamo Neva after a thrilling
game in Mytishchi. Despite blowing a 2-0 lead, the Lady Dragons kept their cool and tied the game
late in the third before Rachel Llanes potted an overtime winner.
Starting with yesterday’s 2-1 win over the same high-flying opposition, these games highlight much
about our team. Most importantly, these results prove that China’s women’s program can compete
against strong opposition. Dynamo has a team with genuine international credentials, coached by
the man in charge of Team Russia at the last World Championship. And it’s WHL form this season has
been impressive. Defeating this kind of opponent is not the same as overpowering some of the
competition’s newcomers or teams that rely heavily on developing young players; winning twice
against a league-leading team dispels any suggestion that our girls might fall short against the best.
It also, of course, means a lot in terms of our placing in the WHL standings. This week’s wins keep us
firmly in touch with the leading group, whereas defeats would leave us looking down towards the
The manner of the wins has also been impressive. Yesterday’s success was built on strong discipline
and solid defense. Today showed great character – and no little skill. After a competitive first period,
the Vanke Rays jumped out to a 2-0 lead early in the second as Maddie Woo scored twice. The first
came on 22:59 as the team neatly transitioned from defense to offense. Kassy Betinol, a goalscorer
yesterday, led the charge before slipping the puck inside for Woo to flip home a wrister from the top
of the circle. Three minutes later, Woo had another when she forced home the rebound after Xin
Fang’s rush and shot came back off the near post with Diana Farkhutdinova stranded.
Things already felt like a bit of a repeat of Wednesday’s game, where the Dragons went 2-0 up at the
start of the second period. This time, though, Dynamo found a bigger response. Liana Ganeyeva
reduced the deficit shortly after midway, then a power play goal saw Polina Bolgareva tie the game
in the 35 th minute. She was assisted by one of our former players, Alexandra Vafina.
Early in the third, Dynamo got in front. Kristi Shashkina, who was the scoring leader at the 2020
World U18s championship, was the scorer, following up to convert the rebound after another raid
Now the Rays faced a real battle against an opponent capable of closing out the remaining 17
minutes. But patience and persistence paid off: in the closing stages, Ekaterina Nikolayeva’s penalty
gave us a chance. With 95 seconds left, Brian Idalski withdrew Kimberly Newell from the net and
sent out six skaters, hoping that a 6-on-4 power play would save the game. The extra players
enabled our girls to overload the Dynamo crease and when team captain Beiwei Yu fired in a point
shot, Taylor Lum was able to redirect it past Farkhutdinova while Llanes put up the screen. From
power play to equalizer took just 26 seconds – a passage of play that reversed the momentum in this
In the remaining seconds, KRS was closest to snatching a winner and as we went into the extras the
home team continued to look stronger. However, it was not until the final seconds that we saw a
decisive goal. The tempo of play had dropped and it seemed that shoot-out was inevitable until
Jessica Wong spotted a chance for one last rush. Bearing down on a tired Dynamo defense, she set
up Llanes for the winning goal with just nine seconds left on the clock.
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