Rainy City Roller Derby (Seed #4, WFTDA #12) vs Helsinki Roller Derby (Seed #5, WFTDA #13)
In the final game of a thrilling first day at the 2018 International WFTDA Playoffs A Coruña, Rainy City Roller Derby (Seed #4, WFTDA #12) battled Helsinki Roller Derby (Seed #5, WFTDA #13) for a spot in the semifinals. Befitting such closely ranked teams, the game was a tight, often brutally defensive affair. Rainy City led throughout but Helsinki never went away, forcing Rainy to fend off a determined second half onslaught to advance with a 146-115 win.
Well, my bracket is intact, but I basically chewed my nails off. #talk2wftda
— Scarmitage Hux (@pinkteacozy) August 31, 2018
The start of the game saw the two teams attempting to feel each other out and find their stride. Rainy City took the early lead, jumping out ahead 26-9 in the first ten minutes. They picked up the majority of lead jammer statuses early on, but Helsinki succeeded in limiting opportunities with quick offensive transitions to instantly spring their own jammers. Slow, grinding defensive formations from both teams also kept the jammers from putting big points on the board.
Both teams showed streaks of dominance. Midway through the first period, Helsinki put up a string of five lead jammer statuses, cutting Rainy’s lead to nine. After a well-placed timeout, Rainy returned to the track and promptly picked up lead for Wilde, but a track cut sent Wilde to the box and allowed Helsinki’s pivot, Ekholm, to put up points after receiving a star pass. Bolstered by their defense that had limited Helsinki to seven points (to Wilde’s 13) during that power jam, Rainy ended the first half on a strong run and pushed their lead out to the largest one yet — 77-37 at the half.
— Nöjd (@SickFromTheFun) August 31, 2018
But the momentum seemed capable of swinging in Helsinki’s favor, as they started the second half on a one minute power jam. Helsinki’s MIA put up 10 points and Knuutila followed with three more, with strong defensive work limiting Rainy City to only 10 points through the first 12 minutes of the half.
Helsinki clawing back some momentum. If they can keep the Rainy jammers on lockdown a bit longer they could really capitalize on this lead streak. #talk2wftda
— Katarina Hit (@katarinahit) August 31, 2018
Midway through the second half, Helsinki gambled with running a Malou jam, and as Rainy lost blockers to the box, Malou put up the highest scoring jam of the day with 22-3 to cut the gap to just 20 points.
— Lawrence of a Labia (@LawrenceOLabia) August 31, 2018
Picking up lead on the next four out of five jams, Helsinki stayed right on Rainy City’s heels, cutting the differential to a mere nine points with under 10 minutes left in the game. But that was as close as Helsinki would get. What looked to possibly become a huge upset was thwarted by Rainy City’s tight play and smart clock management in the last few minutes of the game.
Wilde took lead on the next jam, confidently running time off the clock and putting up eight points to Helsinki’s four. The following jam crushed hopes of a Helsinki comeback as MIA was sent to the box with a forearm penalty and Rainy’s Mia outscored her all-caps counterpart 13-7. Closing the game out with lead jammer status in the two remaining jams, Rainy was able to control the clock and hold onto their lead, ending the game with a 146-115 win.
That was an awesome game, Rainy impressed with their discipline at the end there, definitely felt like surviving a scare from Helsinki tho, what a game they gave! #talk2wftda
— Diana Sprints (@DianaSprints) August 31, 2018
Rainy City moves on to the semifinal bracket and will play Arch Rival at 6 p.m. CET tomorrow. Helsinki’s next game will be Sunday at 1 p.m. CET.