Montréal Roller Derby (#3) vs. Crime City Rollers (#4)
The opening game of the 2017 International WFTDA Championships Philadelphia between Montréal Roller Derby’s New Skids, of Québec, Canada (Seed #3, WFTDA #9) and the Crime City Rollers of Malmö, Sweden (Seed #4, WFTDA #12) set the tone for a thrilling tournament. From the beginning, the game was a back-and-forth affair in which no lead was safe, until the final whistle blew and Montréal emerged with a narrow four-point victory, at 133–129.
Montréal jumped out to a quick lead courtesy of ace jammer Miracle Whips, who twirled through the pack to escape first. Whips was not declared lead jammer, however, as she did not pass all blockers legally, but Crime’s Prince Sofia was unable to capitalize on this, having already taken off the star and forfeiting the ability to gain lead jammer status. The jam went a full two minutes, with Montréal getting the better of it and grabbing a 13–3 lead.
Montréal’s Falcon Punch put up a 4–0 over Curly Håår in the second jam, but the next jam saw the game’s first lead change, with King K taking lead and grabbing additional points with the help of some dedicated offense from Crime’s pivot Dykestalker. A 12–0 jam win for Crime put them on top at 19–13. However, the next two jams went to Montréal, with Mel E. Juana and Miracle Whips propelling the New Skids back in front, with a 24–19 lead under three minutes into the game.
Crime continued to fight back and, just a few minutes later, picked up another lead change as King K picked up lead and points over Honey Badger. Over the next 15 minutes Crime dominated lead jammer statuses and, with just under 10 minutes left in the period, had rolled out to a 59–35 advantage. Montréal was not ready to concede the period to Crime City and began mounting their comeback in the waning moments of the period. In the last five minutes before halftime, New Skids jammers Falcon Punch, Miracle Whips, and Mel E Juana, put up jam scores of 7–0, 10–0, and 4–0 respectively. Montréal blocker Mange Moi Le Cul aided jammers with determined, well-timed offense and tripods anchored by Biggley Smallz played lock-down defense on the Crime City jammers. At the half, Montréal had pulled within two points of Crime City’s lead, at 66–64.
The second half of the game started off much like the first, with Montréal’s Miracle Whips putting up a huge score in the first jam, forcing a Crime City star pass and calling the jam with a 14–0. In the next jam, Crime’s Prince Sofia took the lead and put up four points, bringing Crime back within four points. Crime looked to close the gap even further in the next jam when King K took lead over a boxed Falcon Punch, but then King was also sent to the box for a high block and at the end of the jam, Montréal had gotten the better of it, with a 10–4 score, extending their lead to 90–74. A few jams later, Crime seized a power jam opportunity when Mel E Juana was called on a penalty, putting up a 13–0 that brought the score to 93–92 for Montréal. In the following jam, Prince Sofia scored five points to put Crime back on top, 97–93 with 18 minutes left in the half.
For the next 10 minutes Crime City grabbed hold of a tenuous lead that was never more than seven points. With just eight minutes left in the game, Montréal’s Falcon Punch took lead over Prince Sofia and put up a 14–0 jam which shot Montréal back in front at 121–108. Not to be outdone, in the very next jam Crime City’s blockers played stifling defense on Mel E Juana as Prince Sofia took lead and big points, putting up 13 before Montréal could finally escape the pack via a star pass to Mange Moi Le Cul.
With just five minutes left, this was clearly still anyone’s game, which Montréal proved by putting up one point in the next jam and tying the score at 122. Next, Falcon Punch took lead over Prince Sofia, scoring eight points to Crime City’s four and putting Montréal ahead at 130–126. In the penultimate jam, Miracle Whips scored three points to add to the lead. The final jam saw Falcon Punch face off against Curly Håår, with the New Skids maintaining a tenuous seven-point lead. The New Skids’ blockers, showing remarkable cohesion and a determined focus, not only locked down Curly but also forced a track cut, sending her to the penalty box. Crime City’s blockers returned the favor, keeping Falcon Punch bottled up and killing the penalty for their jammer. By the time Curly returned to the track, however, there was not enough time for her to erase the deficit, and when the final whistles blew, Montréal’s New Skids had emerged with the hard-fought victory, 133–129.
Montréal advances to play Victorian Roller Derby League of Melbourne, Australia (Seed #1, WFTDA #1) tonight at 6 p.m. Eastern Time. Crime City enters the consolation bracket and will play next on Sunday at 2 p.m.
Montréal Roller Derby (Seed #3, WFTDA #9) 133
Crime City Rollers (Seed #4, WFTDA #12) 129