LANSING, MI – The breakfast club gathered early this morning to enjoy a nail-biter match up between #6 seeded Norway’s Nidaros Roller Derby All Stars and Canada’s Tri-City Thunder with the #9 seed. Both teams suffered their first losses in Day 1 of the tournament and had some cleaning up to do as they faced their new opponents as the Day 2 opener proved to be a spectacle of foot work and lateral movement. Tri-City came away with the win over Nidaros, 167 to 164, with a chance to take the 5th place spot later on in the tourney.Norway’s team was notably distinguished as a mystery train rolling into the station but proved to be a strong force in the contests set before them. Coming into this game against Tri-City, Nidaros covered the lines tighter and played much more aggressively to counter Tri-City’s style of play. Tri-City came into the game after a tough loss to #8 seeded Bear City in the opener of the playoff weekend. Like Nidaros, Tri-City needed to tighten up in the areas of jammer penalties and overall pace structure within their pack. To say both teams leveled up in this game was an understatement.
The first half started with a feverish attack launched by Norway as they set the pace with quick and flowing movements. Both teams began to draw penalties as if it was a fire sale on a black Friday. As jam 5 drew to a close, Norway called a team time-out with a chance to calm things down as jammers Vicious Vinnie and Knoxette begin to climb the charts with forearm penalties. Even though Nidaros came out strong with three lead jammer statuses off the bat, Tri-City returned the favor with MEGAnTRON to toss Norway off with the first lead change of the game.
Nidaros showed their aggressiveness in the first half with stats to prove it, taking 8 box trips by the jammers alone. Yoshibitchu was an excellent up-the-sleeve option for Norway as the pivot and scored 18 total points without ever taking the jam line. Canada had their own bag of tricks with Kristy Skelton, who put up 5 points without ever starting as a jammer. Nidaros’ strategy of taking the back line worked out well as Agatha Crushtie, Booty Badass, and Pooky created havoc throughout the entire game as a tri-force of destruction. Toward the end of the half the thunder grew louder and by halftime Tri-City led, 123 to 89.
The second half opened with a knife fight. The All Stars from Norway started to fall into penalty trouble again and lose their power defensively. Tri-City took advantage and settled themselves with a team time-out after 6 minutes. Nidaros broke up their two-jammer rotation with Sophie Nordheim who stood out hopping the apex with style. Nancy Nosebleed, the top scorer for Nidaros with 71 points, got in sync with Sassy KickAssy as they chipped away at Tri-City’s lead. Norway came within 3 points for majority of the last half. Nidaros fought for dear life as the final few jams wound down yet both teams refused to take their teams’ respective time-outs and official reviews, much to the dismay of coaches, announcers, and fans everywhere.
As the game clock hemorrhaged away, MEGAnTRON preformed beautifully on the track, earning lead jammer status 62% of the time. Crazy Squirrel in typical nut gathering fashion lit up the track earning 67 total points for the Thunder. Pity Affoo and JANEgerous teamed up for Tri-City Thunder to showcase amazing rotational defense maneuvers. As the second half closed, the penalties became the main attraction as Nidaros’ Booty Badass fouled out with Yoshibitchu, Agatha Crushtie, and Pooky in danger with 6 penalties apiece. Tri-City did a little bit better spreading out the penalties as party favors with none fouling out but Andi Slamburg, Smashin’ Good Time, and AnneX having sat on the fence with 6 penalties, though each did well to play with caution.
Tri-City Thunder took great care of the top position at the jammer line and looked much more comfortable in the second half. Tri-City controlled the pace and were able to turn on and off the switch for effective offense and well executed defense, proving that the experience they bring to playoffs may well have been the key to their narrow win. Tri-City took the game 167 to 164 with an exhausted but proud ally in Nidaros as both teams hugged it out and congratulated each other on a well-played contest. The Thunder goes on to play the #2 seeded Sac City at 4pm/10pm CEST in the quest for the 5th place podium.