Bay Area Derby (#4) vs. Montréal Roller Derby (#5)
Day 2 of the 2017 International WFTDA Division 1 Playoffs Seattle started off with a much-anticipated game between the Bay Area All Stars of Bay Area Derby, San Francisco, California, U.S. (#4) and Montréal Roller Derby’s New Skids on the Block, Montréal, Québec, Canada (#5). It was the first game of the weekend for Bay Area and the second upset of the tournament. The teams met last year at the WFTDA D1 Playoffs Montréal when the New Skids knocked Bay Area out of a trip to Champs. This game showed a repeat performance, as Montréal held lead for all but one jam.
The game was punctuated by jammer penalties throughout both periods. There were 11 (six for Bay Area, five for Montréal) total jammer penalties in the first half and 18 (eight for Bay Area, 10 for Montréal) in the second. Bay Area struggled to capitalize on their power jams while Montréal’s blockers were able to cut time off the clock and limit the damage Bay Area’s jammers were able to do. Bay Area’s flat wall proved effective when they were able to catch and slow down the jammer but too often there was just enough space between their blockers for the Montréal jammers to get through. Montréal’s defense swirled and cycled as they held Bay Area’s jammers for precious seconds.
In the first jam of the game, Montréal’s Miracle Whips headed to the box before lead was awarded, but Montréal’s defense was able to hold onto April Bloodgate through Miracle Whips’ penalty, her initial pass out of the box, and two scoring passes, before April got through for lead and called it off. In the second jam, Bay Area’s Frightmare headed to the box but soon traded places with Montréal’s Falcon Punch, who earned 10 points in that jam to Frightmare’s 5. Seven minutes into the game Montréal had a 27–14 lead.
Bay Area’s The 4closer gave her team the first lead of the game, powering her way through Montréal’s defense and collecting 17 points along the way. It was the second-highest scoring jam of the game for Bay Area. On the other side of the bench, Montréal’s Mel-E-Juana grabbed 25 points for her team, in what would prove to be the highest scoring jam of the game. Meanwhile, her blockers held onto Bay Area’s April Bloodgate, allowing the New Skids to increase their lead to 52–33. Montréal held Bay Area scoreless in almost half of the jams in the first period, despite Bay Area’s 61 percent lead jammer rate.
At the half the score stood at 91–58 in favor of Montréal with a lead that was by no means insurmountable. April Bloodgate started off the second period by joining the Bay Area defensive wall to try to hold back Miracle Whips, but to no avail, as the Montréal jammer sped through for four points and then called it off, holding Bay Area scoreless. In the second jam, Dani Rueda just managed to see the sunlight between the Montréal blockers but stepped slightly out of bounds and went to the box on a track cut. Falcon Punch was awarded lead but soon joined Dani in the box. The result was a 15–9 jam in favor of Montréal, who continued to pull ahead of Bay Area. Montréal held Bay Area scoreless for several consecutive jams, in which their defense was key to their hit it and quit it strategy.
April Bloodgate, the only jammer of the game to emerge with a clean penalty slate, was able to earn 16 points. This gave Bay Area some much needed momentum, which they were able to keep up for the next several jams, but despite a 15-point jam by Dani Rueda and a 19-point jam by The 4closer in the last jam of the game, the point differential was too large to bridge and Montréal punched their ticket to WFTDA Champs with the win.
Montréal moves on to play the Rose City Rollers (#1) at 8 p.m. tonight, Pacific Daylight Time. Bay Area will play the Mad Rollin’ Dolls (#11) in the consolation bracket tomorrow at noon, PDT.
Montréal Roller Derby (Seed #5, WFTDA #14) 203
Bay Area Derby (Seed #4, WFTDA #10) 154