Just champion!

26 January 2024

22 games, 22 wins. That’s how KRS Shenzhen secured the Chinese Women’s Championship for the first time.

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The Dragons won the title – the third in the club’s seven-year history – with a 6-1 victory over Harbin on Wednesday. That completed a 2-0 sweep in the Grand Final and wrapped up a flawless campaign for the girls.

KRS made it through three round-robin group stages without dropping a game, then reeled off four consecutive victories in the playoffs. Moreover, we allowed just one goal in those playoff games to set an impressive standard through the season.

The final challenge saw KRS take on Harbin. Historically, the city in Heilongjiang province has been a hotbed of Chinese hockey. Indeed, several of our players grew up there and took their first steps on the ice there. Now, though, the balance of power is shifting and the Dragons proved that Shenzhen is definitively where it’s at for contemporary Chinese hockey.

Game one required patience and perseverance to get the result. Lu Wen opened the scoring in the first period, and our defense kept the opposition locked down throughout the game. But Harbin battled hard, hung around in the game and kept us waiting before we could make the result safe. Further goals from Kaitlyn Tougas, Fang Xin and Yu Baiwei wrapped up a 4-0 verdict that had head coach Ivo Mocek purring.

“It was just so fun to watch in that third period, the way we were creating and rotating,” he said. “All five playrs were involved in the offensive zone, the forwards were coming back to the defensive zone for pucks. It was a great, great finish to the game.

“We had to be patient. We had the puck, we were creating chances but we had to be patient to score a couple more goals.”

It was a mark of how well the team performed right across the ice that Wang Yuqing faced just nine shots as she recorded her latest shut-out.

Game two saw the Dragons complete their perfect season with another big win. A 6-1 success wrapped up the title. Once again, it took patience to wear down Harbin. Kong Minghui’s first period opener was cancelled out, but once Ryleigh Houston restored the lead in the second stanza there was no stopping KRS. Further tallies from Danielle Fox, Minttu Tuominen, Tougas and Rui Zhu finished the job in style.

For many on the team, the next test comes in April when China returns to the top division of the Women’s World Championship. Our country last played with the elite back in 2009 but stormed back to the summit of the international game with gold in Division IA last season.


Meanwhile, it’s not just the senior women’s team that is making big progress. Last week, under head coach Scott Spencer – who took charge of KRS Shenzhen last season – China’s U18 Women powered to gold in Division IIA. The youngsters got off to a flying start, demolishing host nation the Netherlands 18-0 in the opening game. That set the tone for a dominant performance, winning all five games in the group and outscoring the opposition 48-3 overall. Only second placed Great Britain manage to pose any kind of challenge, restricting China to a 3-2 lead at the start of their game before eventually falling 6-2.

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