Beliye Medveditsy 1 KRS Vanke Rays 3 (0-1, 1-1, 0-1)
Another solid performance on the road brought another victory in Chelyabinsk, with Rui Zhu’s first goal of the season crowning Saturday’s 3-1 success. The result makes it 10 wins this season for the Lady Dragons and moves the team onto 28 points, remaining sixth in the championship standings.
After Thursday’s 1-0 success here, there were no changes in personnel for the rematch. However, Brian Idalski reshuffled his lines a little, promoting our home-grown trio of Xin Fang, Yingyang Guan and Mengying Zhang to the first line and swapping Kassy Betinol and Maddie Woo into different roles. Tia Chen continued in goal after securing her second shut-out of the season in the previous encounter.
After struggling to score in the first game, the Vanke Rays were quick to get a lead here. The first penalty of the day saw Alisa Kudelina sit for interference and our power play applied the pressure to open the scoring. Anna Segedi stuffed the puck home from close range after Betinol’s shot from the left-hand boards prompted panic on the home paintwork.
That goal came slightly against the run of play: the Polar Bears made a bright start to the game, with chances for Stanislava Sidorenko and Kamilla Mukhametdinova giving Chen some early work. Once in front, though, the Rays quickly took control of the action and dominated the rest of the opening frame without extending the lead.
Creating good offense was a problem for the home team in the previous game as well, with our D core doing a great job at keeping the Chelyabinsk players away from Chen’s net. It took a power play to expose our goal to any danger and early in the second period, Tatyana Shatalova tied the scores as Betinol sat for slashing. However, once she was at liberty again, Kassy quickly restored our lead. Just 43 seconds after the home goal, her astute redirect took Segedi’s shot beyond the grasp of former Dragon Milena Tretyak in the Chelyabinsk net.
Back in front, our girls looked to close down the game completely. In the third period, the Polar Bears were limited to just two shots at Chen, testament to the disciplined, well-drilled hockey on display. And midway through the session, the Vanke Rays extended the lead. Lu Wen outpaced a tiring home defense to reach Zhixin Liu’s clearance and delivered the puck from the corners back to the danger zone where Rui Zhu fired home. For Zhu, a 23-year-old forward from Harbin, this was her first goal in the WHL and her first for our organization since she potted two in the CWHL back in 2017/18. Once again, there are clear indications that KRS is helping to develop local talent into a team capable of competing at the highest level – both for club and country.