KRS Vanke Rays 3 Beliye Medveditsy Chelyabinsk 4 SO (3-3, 0-0, 0-0, 0-0, 0-1)
The Vanke Rays’ five-game winning streak came to an end on home ice as Chelyabinsk avenged last week’s losses against our girls. A fine performance from former Dragon Milena Tretyak left KRS frustrated – she stopped 49 shots in the 65 minutes of action, then won five duels in the shoot-out to give the visitor a tight verdict.
There was little sign of goaltending finesse in the first period, though, as the teams traded six goals
in a roller-coaster ride. The Dragons took the lead after five minutes when Rachel Llanes carved a
path through the visitor’s zone and dropped the puck off for Zhixin Lui to fire home her first of the
However, hopes that this would be a solid foundation for the Vanke Rays to build on were rudely
dispelled. Almost immediately, a penalty on Anna Fairman handed the Polar Bears a chance to hit
back, and Tatyana Shatalova tied the game. The home lead lasted less than a minute and there were
more problems to come when Viktoria Fyodorova put Chelyabinsk in front.
The response was not long in coming. Maddie Woo’s point shot found its way to Llanes, and she
turned and fired home a tying goal in the 13 th minute. Then came a power play chance for the Rays,
and Qinan Zhao kept up her scoring streak. She potted her first ever WHL goal last time out in our
win at SKSO and followed that up with number two here when she exchanged passes with Fairman
before shooting home from long distance. Once again, though, the lead was short-lived: Stanislava
Sidorenko tied it up before the end of a breathless first period.
After that goal flurry, it was something of a surprise to see Tretyak and Tia Chen play out the next 45
minutes without allowing a goal at either end. From the Dragons’ perspective, this was not due to
any lack of offensive effort. The second period saw the home team dominate play, outshooting
Chelyabinsk 19-5 but failing to find a way past Tretyak (for those wondering, despite the sound-alike
name, Milena is not related to Soviet goaltending legend Vladislav Tretiak, although he would
doubtless be impressed at the quality of her play in the face of intense pressure here).
It was a similar story in the third, with the Lady Dragons again topping the shot count 18-9 but,
again, unable to score on our former netminder. At the other end, Chen came up with a couple of
big saves to deny Shatalova as Chelyabinsk got a power play late in the game and threatened to
snatch the verdict in those closing moments. Instead, though, the action went into overtime without
separating the teams.
The shoot-out began, a bit like the game, with a rush of goals: Anastasia Shabalina scored the first
attempt, and Xin Fang immediately responded to tie it up at 1-1. Then, much like the game, the two
goalies took control and it remained deadlocked as the extras went into sudden death. Here, Fang
was denied on her second attempt and Shabalina went to the other end to pot the decider. Sunday
brings a chance for immediate revenge as the teams meet again in Mytishchi.