KRS Shenzhen 2 Biryusa Krasnoyarsk 12 (0-6, 1-3, 1-3)
After losing out to Biryusa in game one, the Lady Dragons suffered an even heavier loss in their second outing of the season. A first-period onslaught from the visitor left Shenzhen’s gameplan in tatters and after that it was simply a question of damage limitation.
The positives came from Ryleigh Houston, who added two more goals to her tally and looked a real danger to the visiting defense. There was also a return to the team for defender Kiana Wilkinson, a 25-year-old from British Columbia who played for KRS in 2020/21 and spent last season in Sweden with Djurgardens. Wilkinson slotted into our second pair alongside Zhao Qinan. Without a full pre-season behind her, Kiana had a tough time against such a powerful opponent but we know all about what she can bring to our D-core this season. In a further change from Monday’s game, He Siye started in goal.
Forewarned might have been forearmed. Having seen at first hand the power of the Biryusa offense yesterday, Shenzhen knew it had to be alert from the first moments. There was some early promise: a power play in the second minute gave the Dragons a chance to settle into the game. But everything went wrong in a calamitous spell that brought three goals in two minutes. Valeria Pavlova started the rout and would go on to score a hat-trick. Sofia Krivosheyeva added a second on the power play, then Ekaterina Dobrodeyeva made it 3-0 on 9:42.
Things did not get much better. Another power play saw Sofia Lifatova make it 4-0 and saw Wang Yuqing replace He in goal. She was beaten twice more in the first period as Biryusa opened an imposing 6-0 advantage.
In the second period, the Lady Dragons were much improved. It might not seem obvious from the scoreline alone, but the middle frame saw our offense bare its teeth and, with better fortune, we could have scored more than the one goal Ryleigh Houston managed.
Houston herself had two good chances on the rush. First, Hannah Miller’s pass sprang the Biryusa D, only for Ekaterina Lazurenko to produce a solid glove save. Later, Houston forced a turnover herself and advanced on the net, but Lazurenko shut the door once again. The visiting goalie was fortunate when Zhao Qinan’s piledriver from the blue line bounced off the post to safety. The initial shot seemed to take a deflection and could easily have flown into the net.
The attacking intent was rewarded at last in the 36th minute when Houston and Miller carved a path through Biryusa defense. Ryleigh applied the finishing touch, sliding the puck into an open net from the edge of the crease to record her third goal of the season.
As well as getting on the scoresheet, the girls also slowed the rate at which Biryusa was able to score. After six in the first period, the visitor managed just three in the second.
Houston got her second of the game – and fourth of the season – in the third period. This was a shorthanded effort that had something in common with her earlier marker. Once again, Ryleigh forced a turnover and streaked away from the opposition before winning her duel with Lazurenko and sending the puck into the net off both posts.
However, those goals were scant consolation on a day dominated by the visiting offense. Biryusa scored three more in the final frame to wrap up a painfully one-sided victory.
KRS has just a short break until its next games. On Friday we make the short journey to Dmitrov for the first of our back-to-back meetings with Tornado, the team we defeated in last season’s final. The action starts at 1800 Moscow Time.