25 October 2021 Biryusa, Vanke Rays, WHL
KRS Vanke Rays 0 Biryusa Krasnoyarsk 3 (0-1, 0-1, 0-1)
The heroic efforts that the Vanke Rays put into their back-to-back victories over league leader
Dynamo Neva took their toll on the team. After two hard-fought games last week, there was
something of a hangover for our girls in Sunday’s match-up with Biryusa.
The team from Krasnoyarsk has established itself as one of the tougher opponents in the WHL in
recent seasons and is generally expected to be pushing for a playoff place in any given season. Last
season, Biryusa was our opponent in the playoff semi-final and proved a worthy opponent in a pair
of hard-fought games.
After the successes against Dynamo Neva, head coach Brian Idalski was full of praise for a “good
character win” and hoped that the team was learning how hard it had to compete to win games in
this league. Continuing that education, he named an unchanged team against Biryusa.
On this occasion, though, the Dragons struggled to impose themselves on the game. Throughout the
60 minutes, the Rays found themselves under pressure from the visitor and Kimberly Newell faced
twice as many shots (44 vs 22) as her opposite number Darya Gredzen in the Krasnoyarsk net. The
17-year-old visiting goalie secured her first shut-out of the season to backstop her team to victory.
KRS did create some chances, most frequently in one-on-one breakaways. But Biryusa proved more
clinical in front of goal, taking an early lead through Ekaterina Dobrodeyeva. Hopes of a quick
response were hampered by three penalties late in the first period. Although the visitor did not
increase its advantage, playing without Kammy Wong, Kaitlin Tse and Emily Costales at various
stages disrupted our offense and slowed our efforts to get back into the game.
The second period was similar. The teams were fairly evenly matched, but the only goal went into
our net in the 25 th minute when Pavlina Goralkova doubled the lead. Then, in the third, Biryusa did a
great job of shutting down the game and limited our girls to just five attempts on goal as it closed
out the win. With five to play, the Dragons had a lifeline when Dobrodeyeva fouled and handed us a
power play chance. However, within seconds a boarding call on Madison Woo cancelled out that
advantage and Valeria Pavlova delivered the coup de grace during a passage of four-on-four play. It
was a couple of minutes that rather summed up the Rays’ day.
Tomorrow the teams meet again, with KRS looking to avenge this loss and make up ground on one
of the teams directly ahead of us in the championship standings.
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