19 January 2023 recap, Vanke Rays, WHL, Ванке Рэйз, ЖХЛ
KRS Shenzhen 2 Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod 8 (1-1, 0-3, 1-4)
Well, at least we scored some goals. After failing to beat Torpedo’s goaltenders in our previous three games, it was something of a relief to shatter that hoodoo right at the start of this game. Unfortunately, the excitement of the first 21 seconds did not last. Torpedo hit back right away and after a hard-fought first frame, the remaining 40 minutes fell some way short of our expectations.
Let’s start with the good news. The first shift of the game delivered that long-awaited goal into the Torpedo net. Hannah Miller won her puck battle in the corner, Ryleigh Houston kept the play alive on the right-hand boards and Hannah regained possession before firing in a shot from between the hashmarks. Everything we hoped for in terms of a strong, positive start was right there. Now, with an unchanged team from yesterday’s 0-3 loss, we had a platform to build on the bright spots from the third period of the previous game.
Unfortunately, Torpedo wasn’t interested in following that script. The Dragons’ lead lasted just 13 seconds before Tatyana Korablina tied the game with her first goal of the season. The rest of the first period was competitive. Torpedo had more attempts on goal, but found Karina Zolotaryova in good form while at the other end our girls produced a few opportunities of their own. As usual, our top line was prominent in leading our offense and looked most likely to add to Miller’s opening marker.
Unfortunately, the final shift of the opening frame saw Houston pick up the first penalty of the game. As a result, she sat a tripping minor at the start of the second period and Torpedo capitalized with a power play goal from Alyona Shmykova. Once in front, the visitor began to tighten the screws, and extended its lead with further tallies from Landysh Falyakhova and Alyona Starovoitova. The latter added to the two goals she scored on us yesterday.
The Lady Dragons needed a goal at the start of the third period to open the door to a fightback in the final stages. We saw an early goal once again, but sadly at the other end. Irina Kostina came into the game in place of Zolotaryova, but was beaten after a couple of minutes as Torpedo extended its lead.
Pi Yunlin potted her third of the season to make it 2-5 in the 47th minute. The 22-year-old Chinese-born talent is in her third season on the KRS team and this campaign is proving to be her most productive to date. It’s easy to overlook the importance of the extra ice time our home-grown prospects are gaining at this level: in Pi’s first two seasons she averaged around five minutes TOI in each game; this season she’s clocking 19 minutes and is visibly growing as a player.
Today, though, was not destined to be the Dragons’ day. Torpedo rattled in three more goals in the closing stages to secure a convincing victory, leaving KRS with plenty to ponder before next week’s games against table-topping Agidel here in Mytishchi.
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