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Riveters: Lyudmila Belyakova Lights Up Team Japan in Exhibition Series

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3 goals and 5 assists in four games? Not bad.

Richard Wolowicz/Freestyle Photo/Getty Images

It appears that Nana Fujimoto didn't appear in net for Smile Japan in their four game international exhibition series against Lyudmila Belyakova's team Russia so we don't have to feel too bad about Russia sweeping them in the series. Belyakova, who started playing for her nation's international team at just 15 years of age, led the charge for Russia against Japan's national team with 3 goals and 5 assists in the four game sweep according to NWHL.co.

Neither Belyakova or Fujimoto has been stateside for the Riveters' training camp and first preseason game  because of suspected issues with a working visa for Fujimoto and commitments like Russia's participation in the exhibition series, which was played at Novorgorsk Sports Center in a suburb of Moscow. Belyakova has been a standout on Russia's national team for several years and was instrumental to her country's U-18 Women's World Championships gold medal in Quebec in 2011 and the national team's bronze medal finish in the 2013 Women's World Championships in Ottawa.

Here are some videos from the friendly series featuring the Riveters' resident Russian star forward. Belyakova will be wearing #9 with the Riveters but she wears #10 while representing her country in international play. She is also one of her country's alternate captains despite being just 21 years old. Keep an eye out for her in the clips below.

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If you're just looking for a highlight, start watching at the 2:36 mark in the video above to catch Belyakova's penalty shot goal in the last game of the exhibition series. She clearly has some unbelievable hands.

In the clip above Belyakova picks up the primary assist after she beats the Japanese defender, makes a quick deke, and her saved shot leaves a juicy rebound for her teammate Alevtina Shtareva to bang home. The clip is a great display of her size, speed, hands, and offensive instinct. Belyakova takes the puck from center ice and drives it forward to create a quality scoring chance all on her own. These are the kinds of plays that star players make.

"Belyakova is a dynamic forward with competitive international experience. She's goal-oriented and creative around the net," said Rylan, "We're excited to showcase international talent in the NWHL and hope Lyudmila is the first of many Russian players to join our league."

-Dani Rylan on signing Belyakova to the Riveters

As you can see from the clips of her play in the videos above, Belyakova's hands are among the best in women's hockey. As head coach Chad Wiseman and Riveters' preseason standout Beth Hanrahan have both said during the camp and preseason the New York Riveters, for the most part, are comprised of grinders and blue collar players who play a two-way game. The dynamic Belyakova will likely serve as a lethal power play weapon and one of the focal points of the club's offense with her top-shelf talent and playmaking abilities.

@belyakova9

Thanks for reading. Let's go Riveters