D1 Playoffs

Omaha, NE

Oct 2-4

Game 16: Minnesota RollerGirls (#3) vs Montreal Roller Derby (#4)

October 4, 2015

By Shelly Shankya

Both teams had a lot on the line at the start of the third place game: for Minnesota RollerGirls (#3) a chance to play at Championships in their hometown; for Montreal Roller Derby (#4) the opportunity to be the first Canadian team to make it to Championships after coming close several times before. To say Game 16 of the Day 3 of the 2015 International WFTDA Division 1 Playoff in Omaha was tumultuous is an understatement. The match-up featured a total of 23 jammer penalties and six lead changes. In the end, however, the Minnesota RollerGirls skated away from the track with bronze, defending their seeding.

The intensity of the game was evident from the first whistle; it took 50 seconds to determine a lead jammer, and when Minnesota jammer Jacked Pipes managed to get back to the pack, she scored five before a forced-call off caused by the Montreal blockers. And while Miracle Whips delivered the first lead change of the game, scoring eight in the fifth jam, the Minnesota blockers were just as fiercely focused. Blocker Madrad used recycling to keep Mel E. Juana at bay, and a braced wall of Diamond Rough, Trudy, and Polly Punchkin had Montreal on the defensive despite their slim lead.

Jammers were likewise rough with one another. Jammer Miracle Whips went for a hit, forcing Minnesota jammer Fannie Tanner out and back for a possible soul crush. That offensive action sent Whips on a push that allowed for Montreal to regain the lead after Jacked Pipes put up a small margin for the aqua and army in the previous jam. The lead change caused by Whips' speed and her blocker's tenacity held for the remainder of the half. The lead was hot for contention, though, at the last whistle when a 14-point jam from captain Shiver Me Kimbers put the Minnesota team within one point, 72-73.

"We have a strong management group to make sure we all stay focused during games, even when they're this close," captain and jammer Shiver Me Kimbers said. "We do what we need to do on the bench and on the track, and our team is very good at communicating."

Game 16: Minnesota RollerGirls (#3) vs. Montreal Roller Derby (#4)

Photo by Donna Olmstead

Four jammer penalties in the opening minutes of the second period, each after the other, gave Montreal an advantage over the Minnesota RollerGirls, an opportunity the team used to push the point spread ever wider - from one point to 13. Each call elicited strong reactions from the crowd, especially when the calls were against the Canadian team as they were for three jammer penalties following Minnesota's jammer kerfuffle. Jammer, pivot, and Minnesota veteran skater Second Hand Smoke gained the fourth lead change, scoring 10 on a power jam. The lead changed again, though, when Mel E. Juana scored four to Shiver Me Kimbers' zero. But the wind was in Minnesota's sails, and the lead change occurred once more when Second Hand Smoke scored 10 more on a power jam; a forearm on the jammer start line sent Montreal jammer Mel E. Juana to the box. Smoke's 10 points were followed by 16 from Shiver Me Kimbers, five from Jacked Pipes, and another 19 from Smoke. That 50-9 point run put Minnesota in a secure lead with fewer than four minutes left in the half.

Minnesota RollerGirls defeated the Montreal Roller Derby 162-134, captured third place, and a spot at Championships on their home track, the Legendary Roy Wilkins Auditorium.

"It's incredible that we'll get to play at home," Shiver Me Kimbers said. "This is all a dream, and I'm so excited. We get to host the top teams in the world at Roy Wilkins Auditorium, and we get to represent our league. It's been a hard year, and we've lost some skaters, but we worked to get here, and we'll get to show the world what Minnesota skaters can do."

Final Score

Minnesota RollerGilrs (#3) 162
Montreal Roller Derby (#4) 134

Real. Strong. Athletic. Revolutionary.