TORONTO( Oct 15, 2018, by Maura Sun) – It didn’t take KRS too long to move forward from their spring of Clarkson. After the team rebrand and a series of moves in the offseason, Shenzhen KRS Vanke Rays turned the page on 2017-2018 and paid their complete attention to the season opener against the home team Toronto Furies. Vanke Rays rout Toronto Furies 5-1 in season opening and shut out them in the back-to-back game on Sunday. Two big wins within 24 hours have shown that Vanke Rays have maintained the momentum from their phenomenal first season and prepared to return to the Clarkson Cup.
Season Opener: Rookies quick to make impact on team
Hannah Miller and Leah Lum are not afraid to skate in tough areas. They want to be parts of the contributions as a rookie forward with Shenzhen KRS Vanke Rays this season.
Hannah Miller made her season debut a memorable one by notching the first KRS Vanke Rays goal in the CWHL in the first period.
“It’s a little bit quicker,” when asked the biggest difference between professional sports and collegiate sports, Hannah said. “The biggest thing is everybody’s mind, and compete level, you know. Those players have played the games for a long time. There are a lot of depts through all the teams this year. Especially in Olympic year, Olympic athletes back in our league. It’s going to be a fun season and it’s a great league to be a part of.”
Leah Lum scored twice in the third period. The fourth-generation Chinese heritage player has proven to be the new dominant force in the team.
“It’s surreal. Carps, Woods and Racheal made great plays on both my goals. I just put the puck back in the net,” said Leah. “We built our chemistry on our five exhibition games in preseason. Here, finally on our CWHL game, it looks pretty good out there. I am excited about this season.”
Second Game: Woods, Carp, Raty help Vanke Rays shut out Furies
When KRS Vanke Rays face the same team twice in a row, there is no need to change the winning lineup. But still, playing two games in 24 hours is a huge challenge especially for a visiting team.
Woods scored in the last minute in the first period. Alex Carpenter doubled the Vanke Rays lead in the second period. She then added one into an empty net with 4 seconds left in the last period. Four-time Olympian Noora Raty made 26 saves on Sunday for her first shutout this season. She made 7 shutouts last season (6 in the regular season, 1 in the playoff).
You can’t win a Clarkson cup relying only on your goalie. Last season, the team relied on their goaltender very much to carry them to the final.
“That was a problem at the beginning, because they know Noora is back there, no big deal,” said Coach Deraney. “But we got over that. I am really excited the fact that our players are playing just as hard in front of her as it would be in front of Kim or Yuqing. It doesn’t matter who we are playing. We are going to play our game. We are going to play to our identity. We are going to play the full 200 feet.”
Last season, both Kunlun Red Star and Vanke Rays struggled a little on defense. This year, the rebranded Shenzhen KRS Vanke Rays heavily inflate the strength of their depth on defense.
“The defence today is a combination of our forwards being really responsible coming back and defence being able to stay up.” said Coach Deraney.
Game 1: KRS Vanke Rays 5, Toronto Furies1
Game 2: KRS Vanke Rays 3, Toronto Furies 0
Game 3: Wednesday, Oct 17 – 8:45 PM –MasterCard Center – Rink 1( Toronto)