Montréal Roller Derby (#5) vs. Rose City Rollers (#1)
The Rose City Rollers, the two-time defending world champions from Portland, Oregon, U.S. (#1, WFTDA #2), faced off against Montréal Roller Derby of Montréal, Quebec, Canada (#5, WFTDA #14) in the final game of day 2 at the 2017 International WFTDA Division 1 Playoffs Seattle. Each team had already secured a spot in November’s 2017 International WFTDA Division 1 Championships Philadelphia, so Rose City and Montréal were playing for rankings and bracket placement at Champs. Rose City’s Wheels of Justice took the 204-98 victory in Saturday’s semifinal.
Montréal played a determined and hard-fought game against the reigning champions, but Rose City was able to steadily build their lead throughout the matchup by making quick work of their power jams, carrying out key offensive attacks, and utilizing the dominant speed and agility of their jammers. After a close start of trading off lead jammer status between the two teams and a couple of early lead changes, Rose City took control of the game and built a commanding lead over Montréal for the remainder of the game.
Play took off with a quick nine points scored by Rose City’s Loren Mutch in the opening jam, but Montréal swiftly responded by taking advantage of successive forearm penalties on Rose City jammer Brute in the first five minutes of the game. Honey Badger grabbed 10 points for Montréal and earned a power start for her team on the following jam. Mel-E-Juana subsequently spun down the inside line for lead jammer status and then four points, giving Montréal a 14-13 lead over Rose City.
Montréal’s lead did not last long, however, as Rose City secured the next five lead jammer status calls in a row and 54 unanswered points. Two power jams for Rose City, in conjunction with hard-hitting defense and dynamic offense, gave them the momentum they needed to pull ahead. Around midway through the half a back block penalty sent Rose City’s Brute to the penalty box once more, giving Montréal jammer Miracle Whips the opportunity to score 21 points to Brute’s 13, bringing the score to 80-35, Rose City.
Rose City continued to clinch lead jammer status for much of the rest of the first half. While the crowd cheered wildly each time Montréal scored against the 2016 Champions, they were not able to make any significant headway against Rose City’s juggernaut defense. With a full 30-second power start for Montréal in the final jam of the half, Rose’s blockers were able to kill much of the penalty and held Mel-E-Juana to only eight points, even as penalties left Rose with only two blockers on the track. Gal of Fray and Juniper Simonis made for an imposing two-wall, and the half ended with the score 126-54 in Rose City’s favor.
The second half opened with Miracle Whips earning lead jammer status for Montréal, although a speedy slide through by Loren Mutch on the line earned Rose City four points to Montréal’s two before the jam was called. In the next jam, a forearm penalty was called on Falcon Punch, and Rose City took advantage of the power jam, allowing Bonnie Thunders to score 15 points.
The remainder of the half was an impressive display of smart and dynamic play on both sides, and scoring remained low until the final jam. After losing momentum in the first half, Montréal came back in the second with stepped-up defense, allowing them to hold Rose City’s jammers for longer, earn more than 40 percent of lead jammer statuses, and keep the score differential hovering right around 100 points for much of the half. Slow and grinding defensive walls by both teams kept jammers in the pack, and even standout offensive plays by the Rose City blockers were not able to break open the score any more.
Although Montréal received nine jammer penalties in the second half, it was not until the last jam of the game that Rose City was able to fully capitalize on the power jam. Jessica Chestnut played aggressive offense against the Montréal tripod and high-scorer Loren Mutch blasted through the pack repeatedly for a 19-0 jam to close out the game. Rose City defeated Montréal 204-98 in the end, earning them higher seeding at D1 Championships in November.
Rose City kept a four-jammer rotation through the entire game. Loren Mutch led all scorers with 65, while Bonnie Thunders had 63 and Frisky Biscuits had 53. Montréal’s Miracle Whips had 40 points and Mel-E-Juana had 31.
Defensively, the Wheels of Justice were led by Jes Rivas, Jessica Chestnut and Tarantula. The New Skids were led by Surgical Strike, Biggley Smallz and Manage Moi El Cul.
Rose City advanced to this game by defeating 2×4 Roller Derby, 360-80, earlier Saturday. Montréal had upset Bay Area Derby in Saturday’s first game, 203-154, and had beaten the Charlottesville Derby Dames, 486-144, on Friday.
Rose City moves on to play the Angel City Derby Girls of Los Angeles, California, U.S. (#2, WFTDA #4) in the Seattle tournament finals at 6 p.m. Sunday. Montréal will play tournament host league Rat City Rollergirls of Seattle, Washington, U.S. (#6, WFTDA #16) for third place at 4 p.m. Sunday.
Rose City Rollers (Seed #1, WFTDA #2) 204
Montréal Roller Derby (Seed #5, WFTDA #16) 98