KRS Shenzhen 3 SKSO Yekaterinburg 1 (1-0, 1-1, 1-0)
The Lady Dragons reeled off a sixth successive victory and, with it, climbed to fifth place in the Women’s Hockey League standings. Another dominant display from our top line, led by a three-point show from this season’s leading scorer Kaitlyn Tougas, lifted Shenzhen over SKSO for the second time in two days.
At the other end, another strong performance from Karina Zolotaryova in the Red Star net did much to frustrate a spirited show from the visitor. She stopped 32 shots, and there was an element of controversy about the one effort that beat her midway through the second period. Karina also impressed in the closing stages, when a combination of a penalty on Ryleigh Houston and SKSO withdrawing the goalie left us defending a 4-on-6 situation for more than a minute.
Shenzhen got the lead midway through the first period. Tougas got the goal, an unassisted effort that moved her to 13 goals and 25 points for the season. There would be more to come from her later in the game.
Before that, though, KRS needed to endure some pressure from SKSO. The visitor is still seeking its first win of the season, not to mention a first ever victory over the Dragons, but this year we are seeing a stronger line-up from Yekaterinburg. Despite falling behind, there was no shortage of effort and endeavor from our opponent in an evenly matched encounter.
That said, there was some controversy over the SKSO equalizer midway through the second period. Kristina Sergeyeva, who also scored in Sunday’s game, got the puck in the net. However, the Dragons were convinced that goalie Karina Zolotaryova was impeded during the play. A bench challenge prompted a video review, but there was no reprieve. The goal stood, and KRS had to kill a bench minor for delay of game.
That penalty did not bring much of value to the opposition. Instead, the visitor’s Elena Larshina soon found herself on the way to the box after a tripping call. Once those penalties had played out with no change to the scoreline, Shenzhen restored its lead with the teams back at full strength.
Once again, it was our top line that did the damage. Houston claimed the goal following more great work from Tougas and Hannah Miller.
Late in the middle frame, Sergeyeva took a penalty. The power play carried over to the third period and led to a second goal of the game for Tougas, giving a decisive advantage to the Dragons.
“That was huge for our special teams to get one at the start of the third period to give us a bit of breathing room,” said head coach Scott Spencer after the game. In general, he was happy with the performance and, in particular, is enjoying the way this team is becoming difficult to beat.
“We’re learning,” he added. “We’re figuring out ways to win hockey games. I think we’re playing a good simple game where we’re not trying to do too much. When we do that, and we play with a bit of grit, we block some shots, we’re a hard team to play against.”
Back-to-back wins over SKSO helped to move KRS into fifth place in the standings. That’s just one place outside of the playoff places, albeit after playing more games than most of our rivals. The next test for the girls comes on Thursday with the first of a double-header at home to Beliye Medveditsy from Chelyabinsk.