D1 Playoffs

Omaha, NE

Oct 2-4

Game 14: Helsinki Roller Derby (#7) vs Queen City Roller Girls (#9)

October 4, 2015

By Shelly Shankya

Game 14 of the 2015 International WFTDA Division 1 Playoff in Omaha, Neb. offered Queen City Roller Roller Girls (#9) a chance to advance a seed, or two, in the seventh place foray against the Helsinki Roller Derby (#7). In the end, the Lake Effect Furies upped their seeding by one, and Helsinki maintained seventh place by winning 274-199.

Queen City got a running start with a 25-point lead from jammer Librawlian, as Helsinki jammer Taru Saxelin went to the box for a track cut. The Fury lead was shortlived, however, as jammer InSINerator went to the box on a track cut in the following jam and Maiju Rinne scored 18 points, making the score 30-25 after two jams. The remainder of the first period featured large point gains for Helsinki, and small but consistent point grabs for Queen City. Blocker penalty troubles plagued both teams, as micro pack scenarios played at a handful of jams.

The jammers for Queen City followed a standard rotation between Librawlian, InSINerator, and Murphy, but Librawlian continued to be the largest scorer for her team, as she had been all weekend. Her risky play of not calling off the jam with the point advantage played in her favor on a few occasions, but also cost her points. Helsinki blockers Ekholm, Erwes, Ojala, and Saxelin locked in on strong hits to give jammers Maiju Rinne and Varpu Knuuttila the upper hand and the larger score. With only moments left on the period clock, Queen City mounted momentum to score 27 points to Helsinki's 5, to draw the point differential to 25 points before the half.

Game 14: Helsinki Roller Derby (#7) vs Queen City Roller Girls (#9)

Photo by Marko Niemelä

Both teams fell victim to jammer penalties in the second half: Helsinki with five, and Queen City the same. However, the lead jammer advantage was strongly in Helsinki's favor; the team grabbed 16 lead jammer statuses to Queen City's 5. On one jam, Queen City jammer Librawlian snuck four points from Maiju Rinne on a speedy apex jump timed perfectly with the whistle. In a grinding jam with just over 18:45 left in the game, it took jammer Murphy a full minute to decide to pass the star cover to pivot B'Kini Whacks, and then another :35 seconds for Whacks to exit the pack. Queen City scored only four points that jam to Helsinki's eight while Taru Saxelin sat on two back-to-back penalties.

Blocker penalties became a problem for both teams, and as bodies hit the sport court the box filled. On no fewer than three jam starts, the pack consisted of only three skaters: two for Helsinki and one for Queen City. The clock stopped with 5:00 remaining for the officials to consider a possible expulsion for a skater's raucous entry into the penalty box. In the end, the penalty board and the scoreboard were lopsided to Helsinki's favor. The team defeated the Lake Effect Furies of Queen City by 75 points, 274-199.


Helsinki Roller Derby (#7) 274
Queen City Roller Girls (#8) 199

Real. Strong. Athletic. Revolutionary.