D1M 7th Place: #10 Rocky Mountain extinguishes Detroit, 196-195

D1M 7th Place: #10 Rocky Mountain extinguishes Detroit, 196-195 Photo credit: Matthew Becker Photography. facebook.com/mbeckerphoto

MONTRÉAL, QC – Detroit and Rocky Mountain came in as the lowest seeds of the Montreal tournament, but played for 7th place today, both bettering their seed just by doing so. The game was close start to finish, concluding in a stressful last jam where both jammers went to the both. In the end, Rocky Mountain was able to squeak by Detroit, winning 196-195, and claiming seventh place.

Rocky Mountain (#10) came out swinging and living up to their name: The Fight Club. Havoc, a threat and a joy to watch skate, came out hot with a 8-0 jam.

Detroit’s Freakin Rican and Boo D Livers punished Rocky’s jammers throughout the game, while Kelly Genei and Off the Hook were relied on heavily to keep pack work rotating and in play. Detroit also did a great job of confounding Rocky Mountain’s offense throughout the game. If Fight Club was attempting to play offense from the front, Detroit would simply back up, rendering Rocky ineffective, and keeping the jammer completely trapped. Detroit built their lead to a solid 31 points by Jam 10, securing lead 70% of the time, but this run of success didn’t last.

Rocky Mountain’s Winona Fighter and Mary Q Pain started to turn up the heat on Detroit’s jamming rotation. From Jam 11 to 17, Detroit was only able to score eight points. Rocky put up 25, gaining lead five times in a row. Then, back-to-back double-digit jams by Havoc and Wild E Coyote swung momentum in Rocky Mountain’s favor. Detroit’s Racer McChaser managed to put up 14 points during one of those jams, but Rocky had already started the wheels turning. They continued to chip, and by halftime the score had swung to Rocky’s side: 101-95.

Both teams’ defense came out a little befuddled in the second half, with formations that were looser than in the first. Detroit continued to play effective offense, but they were letting their guard down more often, and letting Rocky break them up. Plagued by blocker penalties, jammers often faced against short packs. All of Detroit’s jammers ate up walls of two or three. Julianne Rookard, a new name to the derby scene (but not to speed skating) baffled short Rocky walls with her edgework and bursting seed. Feta and Racer were able to the middle of packs and because of that, kept their footing despite efforts of Rocky defense. Dickie and Fiona Grapple did an excellent job of stopping momentum when the Rocky players would stay nearby each other.

Both of these teams were so solid when their skaters were within arms’ reach. When they would drift, jammers would be able to slide right through packs, getting pinged along the way, but otherwise unhindered. Detroit regained a small lead in jam and was holding onto it pretty solid.

With 10 minutes in the game, and with only a 10-point difference between the two teams, Rocky Mountain’s Wild E Coyote went down with injury. She was Rocky’s second top scorer for the game behind Havoc, putting up 44.5% lead percentage, and scoring 45 points. After a 45-minute injury time out, both teams had to re-energize to finish out the game.

Rocky had been held scoreless for the three jams before the break, but Rocky caught a break by fielding Havoc to turn the tide. She rolled the dice against Racer McChaser, keeping the jam going despite Detroit scoring points. A good bet to make, since McChaser ended up passing the star to Meryl Slaughterburgh and Havoc put up 18 points to Detroit’s 4, swinging the lead back to Rocky.

Sweetie Ramone, who had not had a lot of success previously, was sent out against monster Rookard. Rookard got an easy lead, but then was sent out on her scoring pass for a forearm penalty. Rocky figured out their offense during the power jam, getting Ramone some points, but Off the Hook slowed her up on a couple passes. Rookard was able to blast back through the pack, and get some points back. The two minute jam ended up only as a 2 point differential in favor of Rocky Mountain.

A power jam with Havoc on the line was a quick five points for Rocky, and in the following jam, Racer McChaser incurred a back block immediately out of the pack, sending her back to the box, and giving Sweetie Ramone a power jam. When McChaser came back to the track, a quick star pass to Rookard leveled the playing field and at the end of Jam 20 with 44 seconds left on the clock, Rocky Mountain led 194-191. Julianne Rookard and Havoc were the jammer pairing for the last jam.

In a ridiculously tense (and risky) last jam, Rookard and Havoc BOTH were called out on penalties at the same time. Both jammers re-entered and after a sloppy melee, and both emerged from their initial pass about the same time. Rocky took the front of the pack (as per usual), and when Rookard entered the pack she incurred another penalty, sending her back to the box. The question was: how many people did she pass before going to the box? Havoc did not get through the pack before getting the signal from Coach Dave Wood to just stay put.

Instead of pushing past one Detroit blocker to grab a few more points, Havoc chose to stand on the track and take a chance that Rookard hadn’t scraped enough points together to win. When the final whistle sounded, Detroit was awarded four points and Rocky was awarded two.

With a 196-195 finish, Rocky Mountain finished at #7 in the tournament, and Detroit at #8.

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