Crime City Rollers (#4) vs. Helsinki Roller Derby (#5)
The final game of the first day of the 2017 International WFTDA Division 1 Playoffs in Malmö saw a fight to take on Gotham. The tournament host team, the Crime City Rollers (#4) of Malmö, Sweden, took the win against Helsinki Roller Derby (#5) of Helsinki, Finland, 215-170.
As frequent opponents that were closely seeded for the weekend, Crime City had the home crowd behind them in their first game of the day. While Crime City has a few new names on its roster, including Fenix Fortsomfan from the London Rollergirls, the Helsinki line up remained unchanged. Their last meeting, at Anarchy in the UK 2017, saw a very close game that Crime City won 176-158.
Prince Sofia put the first 10 points on the board in a slow-moving first jam, quickly followed by an almost identical jam with King K taking 9. A power jam to MIA secured the first 8 points for Helsinki. Both teams began with slow-moving packs and sweeping offense with jammers working hard to maneuver around the walls.
A triple penalty run for captain Crime City’s Curly Håår allowed Helsinki to claw back some points as Malou added 15 for a 29-25 lead change in Helsinki’s favor. Crime City blockers SPINOSAURUS, Bricken and Tjutet presented a strong grinding wall, but Helsinki continued to make headway with a 15 point lead. The home crowd roared as Crime City’s Prince Sofia turned the tables and edged forward with a 27-point jam against Malou. Helsinki’s Kuala pushed against a swarm of Crime City blockers while Curly Håår was trapped by Helsinki, ending a 12-8 point jam in favor of Crime City.
With 9 minutes to go, a power jam to Helsinki pivot Vega proved fruitless as Crime City held fast and conceded only 1 point. With 20 seconds left on the jam clock Prince Sofia finally obtained lead jammer as both teams held jammers in solid, braced wall formations. Helsinki continued to add points to the score as both jammers took to the box in the closing minutes of the first period, resulting in a score of 86-72 for Crime city at half time.
Price Sofia was the highest scoring jammer in the first half of the game and began period 2 by battling through Nina Erwes and Salla Karjalainen to pick up 14 more points. Later, with Malou as lead, Helsinki ran the clock to secure an additional 16 points as Crime City picked up 21. Successive lead calls for Crime City saw them creep ahead by 66 points as Helsinki struggled to contain the speedy jammers.
With Helsinki playing for points, MIA picked up a power jam and added to their score, despite big hits from the home team that sent two of their blockers to the box to join Prince Sofia. This allowed Helsinki to break the century marker and improve their points differential.
Smart blocking from Helsinki forced a cut on Hanna P but a fast stop/start pack made it difficult to move. Kujala was still able to capture 9 points with 15 minutes to go.
Fast packs and pivot line starts allowed both teams’ jammers to attack with speed and Kujala picked up another power jam as Curly Håår was sent to the box again, bringing the score to 184-119 in Crime City’s favor.. Kix had good success holding back MIA, who picked up lead and gave the crowd an apex jump to cheer for, but Curly Håår continued to put points on the board as Crime City moved past 200 points. Retku and Iiris Suominen paired excellently as Helsinki moved up to 143 points with 5 minutes to go.
A lead call and apex jump for MIA delivered an extra 9 points as the final jam approached and a busy Helsinki grabbed more points with smart jamming from Taru Saxelin. The game closed at 215-170 to a jubilant Crime City, who not only proceed to play New York City’s Gotham Girls Roller Derby (#1) Saturday at 6 p.m., but also go forward to Championships in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, US in November. Helsinki will face Calgary Roller Derby Association (#11) of Calgary, Alberta, Canada, on day 2 of the tournament.
Crime City Rollers (Seed #4, WFTDA #12) 215
Helsinki Roller Derby (Seed #5, WFTDA #15) 170