Game 1 of the 2016 International WFTDA Division 2 Playoffs Lansing kicked off with a global battle as Tri-City Roller Derby Tri-City Thunder (seed #9, WFTDA #59) of Kitchener, Ontario Canada took on the Bear City Roller Derby Berlin Bombshells (seed #8, WFTDA #56) of Berlin, Germany.
The first whistle of the game was followed almost immediately by another as Mia Missile, Bear City captain and jammer, was sent to the box on a track cut. With Missile in the box, Tri City’s captain Crazy Squirrel capitalized on the opportunity to pick up lead jammer and close out the first jam with a 12-0 lead over Bear City.
Bear City set out to regain control after this rough start and they picked up lead jammer the next six jams in a row. They took the lead in the third jam, and they kept it for the rest of the game, but not without a fight from Tri-City.
“We watched footage from Beaver Fever games and knew they were matched to our game style,” said Mia Missile. “So it would come down to who had more mental power.”
Both teams displayed a strong, slow defense throughout the first half, even as the penalty box filled up. In jam 16, a full 48 seconds elapsed before any skate crossed the pivot line, and the jam went without lead until Bear City grabbed it with just 28 seconds left on the clock.
The second half also started off with a power jam, but this time in favor of Bear City. Tri-City continued to run into penalty trouble throughout the half, making it difficult for them to catch up to Bear City’s lead. Top scoring Bear City jammers Peanut Butter Panic and Mia Missile made quick work of the pack advantages, racking up the points for Berlin.
“We couldn’t play at 100%, so we had to dial it back to stop the penalty spiral,” K. Skelton of Tri-City explained. Despite the continued penalty trouble that left AnneX alone on the track for Tri-City, she was able take Peanut Butter Panic to the outside of turn two, recycle her to the back of the pack and contain her long enough for two Tri-City skaters to return from the box.
While both teams made a solid showing in the second half, Bear City was able to hold their lead and finish the game with a 235 to 140 victory over Tri-City.
Bear City will move on to face the #1 seed, Charm City Roller Girls (WFTDA #41) of Baltimore, MD USA at 4 p.m. EST. Tri-City will skate again in Game 7 against the loser of Game 3 on Saturday at 10 a.m. EST.
Bear City Roller Derby (#8) 235
Tri-City Roller Derby (#9) 140