MONTRÉAL, QC – In game 11 of the Montréal playoffs, the #1 seed London Rollergirls took on #4 seed, and host league, Montréal Roller Derby. While the New Skids on the Block were certainly the crowd favorite, they were no match for London Brawling. London scored 54 points within the first two jams, setting the tone for much of the game.
Both the New Skids and Brawling brought tight defense and the jammer strength expected from both of these teams, resulting in a hard-fought game on both sides. Montréal consistently fought back throughout the game, picking up some momentum in the second half, but London ultimately blew Montréal out of the water, winning 325-58. They will go on to the Texas Rollergirls Sunday at 6pm EDT (11pm BST) in the battle for first place.
London began this game with Master Blaster getting lead jammer very quickly in turn one, and taking 24 unanswered points. In the next jam, Lexi Lightspeed had a nearly identical jam, but taking 30 points to zero for Montréal. Only four minutes into the half, the score was 54 to 0 with London in the lead, and this trend continued for the majority of the first half. Given Montréal’s strong defensive skills and their struggle to find their niche against London, this game really reflected how cohesive and disciplined London Brawling is coming into this tournament season.
In the fourth jam, Master Blaster got an early track cut, giving Montréal a power jam opportunity with Miracle Whips jamming. While Montréal fought hard to take advantage of this and put their first points up of the half, they were still held to only three points. With just over 21 minutes left to play, the score was 67 to 3 in London’s favor. Brawling held Montréal to three points for the next five jams, continuing to put many points on the board.
With 12:45 left in the half, the score was 139 to 3. Both teams were also playing very clean with few penalties by this point – a trend that continued through most of the game as well. With just under 12 minutes to play, Montréal seemed to find somewhat of a groove, as their jammers were getting out, and doing so fairly closely behind London. This allowed them to hold London to fewer points for a few jams, though they were only able to put up one point of their own. With 5:45 left in the half, the score stood 164 to 4.
In the following jam, Montréal obtained lead jammer for the first time in the half with Ptite Pouliche getting out in front of Rogue Runner. After landing a beautiful apex jump, she called the jam and took two points for the New Skids. Montréal’s Miracle Whips got lead yet again for Montréal in the next jam, and was able to score 5 points. London had passed the star to Stefanie Mainey, who went to the box on an elbow, giving Montréal an opportunity to put some points up as they would begin the next jam with a power jam in their favor.
Unfortunately for Montréal, they were not able to take advantage of this power jam start, and London dominated the final jams of the half, the score 169 to 11 at the break.
Montréal came into the second half looking a bit more like they had figured out how to play London’s game. While London continued getting lead quickly and swiftly, Montréal was getting out much more frequently and was holding London to fewer points than they were in much of the first half. Four minutes in, the score was 182 to 11 in London’s favor, a much different point gain in the first minutes of the second half than in the first half.
London was not to be phased by this, however, and they quickly put up 28 points over the next few jams. However, Master Blaster went to the box on her third penalty and gave Montréal another power jam opportunity. This allowed them to more than double the total points they had scored in the entire game up to that point, the score 210 to 24 with just under 20 minutes left to play.
In the next jam, Lexi Lightspeed got lead for London, but came in strong to the pack and had a huge collision with KonichiWOW, leaving both of them on the floor. This shoulder injury took Lexi out of London’s jammer rotation for the rest of the game, a big loss for London. Following this, London had a 30-point jam with Rogue Runner wearing the star. With about 15 minutes left to play, the score was 242 to 29, though both teams were starting to look a bit gassed by this point, which was a testament to how hard both teams were playing, in spite of the large score gap.
The remainder of the game went much as the rest, with London generally dominating lead jammer status, and racking up points. Montréal’s jammers were getting out of London’s walls more this half, but still struggled to add points to their total. Master Blaster got into a bit of penalty trouble, taking another trip to the box with about four minutes left in the half, but this still didn’t phase London’s ability to hold Montréal. Montréal was able to put up a few more points during Master Blaster’s trip to the box, but when she was released, Blaster was able to continue scoring.
With just under one minute left in the half, London was in the lead 317 to 58. Rogue Runner took lead for London by an impressive jump of the straightaway just before turn one. She was followed by Falcon Punch for Montréal, but Rogue Runner finished her scoring pass and called the jam, ending the game, 325 to 58. Montréal will take on Bay Area in the 3rd place game before London faces Texas in the final game.
This game marks the sixth time the two teams have met, with London taking five of the wins. Montréal was London’s first ever sanctioned opponent at Anarchy in the UK in 2011, and the New Skids had beat them by 80 points. London made WFTDA Eastern Playoffs that year, the first team from outside North America to qualify, and blew away everyone’s expectations by placing 5th, with a final 2-point win against Montréal.