Salt Lake City, UT
September 28, 2014
by Danger (ismymiddlename)
Montreal Roller Derby, from Montreal, Quebec, Canada, faced the Arch Rival Roller Girls,from St. Louis, Missouri, in the game to determine 5th sudden momentum switches, with walls breaking into the front and back of the pack. While the score stayed close for the first half, the second half brought Montreal back with an almost visible hunger, resulting in defensive control and persistent lead jammer grabs. The game ended in a convincing win for the Canadians, 205-142.
This was always going to be an emotional game for Montreal, for, as they found their placement maintained at the end of the tournament, their team also came to realize that this might be the final game for a number of their longest-playing skaters. Georgia W Tush listed herself as a possible retiree, mentioning also “Smack Daddy, Li’l Mama, Chasing Amy, Greta Bo Bo, Honey Badger and ... probably me? I’m one of those on the fence people, but I’m definitely not going to be playing next year.”
The first jam pitted Montreal’s The Honey Badger against Mighty Mighty Boston, when Montreal chased lead jammer for Arch Rival for a quick call-off, 2-0. Then next up to jam were Mel E Juana and Brickyard, when Brickyard was quickly caught and recycled but then Mel was boxed, handing Brickyard a power jam and a full two-minute jam. Mel made it through her first scoring pass when she finally emerged from the box, but the score had clicked up to 23-4, Arch Rival leading.
The first time that Montreal gained a power jam as Arch Rival’s Chokehold earned a penalty, at the 10 minute mark into the game, Arch Rivals’ lead of 48-20 finally started to look fragile. Mounting points for Montreal took them upwards, while Arch Rival was held unscoring, and they eventually tied five minutes later, at 48 points apiece. That earlier power jam turnaround gave much of the second quarter of the game to Montreal, as they added in points with lead jammer calls earned.
Montreal’s first lead jammer loss resulted in a star pass as they became trapped in their initial pass. But it wasn’t going to dissuade them from holding the score lead. While Brickyard took on a scoring run on a sudden Arch Rival power jam, as Montreal also lost blockers to penalties, her point additions pushed Arch Rival into the lead 76-69. Montreal responded with a team timeout and stopped the trend, and then all but reversed the play, as Honey Badger saw Montreal into a renewed lead. At this point a 4:2 pack advantage for Montreal gave them the ability to push forward points while holding Brickyard back at the same time.
By halftime the score sat at 104-86, to Montreal. Mel E Juana started the first jam back by taking a rapid lead, and using the outside to run two scoring passes through before calling the jam. Montreal jumped the score to 113-86.Mel continued to take lead in similar fashion, occasionally struggling briefly with rear wall defense from Arch Rival, but never genuinely trapped. As Arch Rival jammer Brickyard said about her team, “We did great defense, which I think was kind of the best offense against them. But they were very good at staying in front of us, which was ... it was fun, but a challenge.”
While Montreal switched jammers, they held their own frontline defense so strongly and grabbed such a relentless series of lead jammer calls, they were a team that wouldn’t be dissuaded from the lead. This half featured constantly engaging and fast, scrappy play, which Montreal highlighted with star passes in the rare jams they failed to make it through their initial pass.
By the end of the third quarter the score was at 156-107 for Montreal and the trend continued with a widening lead for Montreal. The score climbed to 190-126 with only 2 mins to go, when Smack Daddy was boxed on what proved to be the penultimate jam. Arch Rival then went into the final jam (with 1:13 of game time remaining) on a power jam start, taking the final of their team timeouts, and starting with Brickyard on the line who grabbed lead jammer status.
Montreal’s Mel E Juana received a star pass off a freshly re-entered Smack Daddy and the two teams skated out the remaining seconds on the game clock before ending it on a final score of 205-142 to Montreal.
Montreal entered the playoffs in the 5 seed spot, and now leave with the 5th tournament placing - confirming their place. Arch Rival entered as the 7 seed, meaning that this game was always going to be a step up for them. They depart at the 6th tournament placing position, still a climb up for the team.
Arch Rival 142
Real. Strong. Athletic. Revolutionary.