The 13-hour flight to Vancouver proved worthwhile for Stockholm Roller Derby (#8) of Stockholm, Sweden, for their 2016 playoff debut against the Queen City Roller Girls (#9) of Buffalo, NY, USA. Stockholm took the win in this hard-hitting matchup, 237-142.
Both teams faced jammer penalty troubles early on in the game — A.M. Chaos of Stockholm cut the track early in the first jam of the game, giving a temporary advantage to Queen City. For the first of many times this game; however, tight defensive walls by Stockholm locked down a Queen City jammer to kill the first power jam of the game. Queen City jammer Librawlian was able to break free of the pack as Chaos was released, scoring a quick four points before calling it off.
After another track cut by a Stockholm jammer in jam two, this time by Panica De Hex, gave Queen City the opportunity to get a 5-9 lead, but a powerful performance by Lil Slinky for Stockholm in jam three turned the tide of the game. Slinky quickly racked up 24 points while Stockholm’s blockers successfully recycled around Queen City’s Miss Fire, holding her trapped in the pack and forcing repeated runbacks that allowed Slinky’s successive grand slams.
Stockholm’s ability to waterfall around jammers gave them a significant advantage throughout the game. Hard hits by skaters like CrackHer and Swede Hurt exhausted Queen City jammers, forcing several track cuts throughout the game. Queen City adapted as the bout went on, switching up defensive strategies and better aligning their pivots to take some successful star passes, resulting in points on the board for dominant blocker Bricks Hit-house.
Power jams in Queen City’s favor helped them chip away at the score gap near the close of the first half, though locked-down defense by Stockholm helped keep them from running away with big leads. Going into the second half of the game Stockholm had the upper hand, 114 to 69.
Librawlian had a commanding start to the second half, taking advantage of Stockholm starting with two blockers in the box. A.M. Chaos jamming for Stockholm followed close behind, but a hard hit and run back gave Librawlian the space she needed to increase her jam point lead. Queen City opted to run the jam while they had the blocker advantage. With 27 points, the score narrowed to 122 to 96, the closest Queen City would come to Stockholm’s score the rest of the game.
More penalty trouble cost Queen City some momentum. Stockholm picked up power jams in jams two and three of the second half, allowing the Swedish team to pick up a 44-point lead. Librawlian quickly escaped from the pack in jam four with A.M. Chaos close on her heels before Bricks Hit-house cleared her out of bounds and recycled. CrackHer drew a cut on Librawlian in a penalty-heavy jam. Chaos added to her point total as two blockers remained on the track for each team.
Queen City remained determined to add points where they could, but a 19-point jam by Lil Slinky helped catapult Stockholm to a 77-point lead. The blockers successful recycled Queen City’s Dana Scullcrusher and kept her separated from her pivot so that a star pass could not be completed until only 30 seconds remained in the jam.
When the dust had settled at the end of the game, Stockholm skated off with the 237-142 win. They will go on to play Victorian Roller Derby League (#1) at 6 p.m. on Friday, a game that Lil Slinky called a “gift” for Stockholm and a great learning opportunity.
Queen City will have the remainder of the evening to rest before facing off against the Naptown Rollergirls at 10 a.m. on Saturday.
Stockholm Roller Derby (#8) 237
Queen City Roller Girls (#9): 142