VANCOUVER, BC- The second game of day two of Divison 1 playoffs in Vancouver saw the host league, Terminal City, fend off a challenge by Arizona Roller Derby’s Tent City Terrors, relying on consistent defense and relatively clean game play to prove dominant in the contest. Arizona pulled no punches but ultimately came up short, with a final score of 231-95.
The moral of the story was much the same as it’s been in many of the closer contests throughout playoffs, where the team able to send consistent and coordinated offensive help for their jammers came out triumphant. Terminal City almost always started with a tripod, using the fourth blocker as a sort of flanker, ready to run up to play offense off the line or drop back to plug holes on the lines as needed.
Meanwhile, Arizona mostly relied on four walls, only sending offense once the jam was well under way. The Terrors also struggled with penalties, especially in the second half, nearly doubling Terminal’s overall total.
Terminal’s strong defense managed to largely contain Arizona jammer Luz Chaos, a formidable skater who employed impressive footwork and some daring moves (including more than a few instances of simply ducking underneath swooping hits) but ran into trouble with the Canadians’ tightly braced walls and fast recycling.
The first half got off to a quick start with 0-0 jam, but then the tenor of the game was set as Maiden Sane took lead over R2DEATH2, who committed a star pass violation and gave Terminal the first of many power jam opportunities, resulting in an unanswered 13-0 score. Shortly thereafter, Luz Chaos picked up her first jammer penalty and gave Drago a chance at a power start and a 14-0 jam.
The tables turned when Drago later got sent to the box and Luz Chaos enjoyed the power start, but after a clutch hit out of bounds by Flower Plow’her, Drago reentered and made quick work of picking up lead. Mirroring a strategy they employed in their previous game against Philly, Terminal opted to trust that their blockers could hold Luz Chaos at bay while allowing Drago to run the clock and score points.
Kim Janna got nicked on a track cut on her next time at the line, giving Erica d’Entremont a shot at a power jam for Arizona that was aided by a star pass to pivot Choke ya latte. Kim Janna came storming back from the box, however, bashing her way through the pack for 9 points in answer to Arizona’s 10.
Arizona had two more power jam opportunities in the second half but had difficult capitalizing as Terminal City’s blockers deftly brushed off most offense attempts and held jammers for successful penalty kills. Arizona answered with a penalty kill of their own, holding Drago while Jess West served time for a charging misconduct call. Great heads up positional blocking upon reentering from the box by Hface Killa also helped slow Drago’s roll and give time for the rest of her pack to line up in a solid defensive formation.
At the half, Terminal led 80-59 with both lead percentage and total penalties nearly even between the two teams. That story would change dramatically in the second half, however, and prove crucial to how it all ended.
Arizona continued to struggle to put together cohesive offense in the second half, and either frustration or weariness began to take their toll as blocker and jammer penalties began to pile up. The Terrors also began putting new jammers on the line, bringing Blok N Dekher and Kootz out to wear the star and mix up the jammer rotation.
Blok N Dekher had some initial success in the role, showing off both power and agility to break apart Terminal’s packs and picked up a quick 4-0 jam. Her successive times at the line didn’t go quite as well, though, contributing to a run of 6 jammer penalties over the course of 5 jams that also involved Kootz and R2DEATH2 mostly battling track cuts. Luz Chaos also began to pick up a string of penalties for track cuts and blocking with the head, as she attempted to duck under the arms and shoulders of Terminal’s tripods.
Meanwhile, Terminal City maintained their cool, with frequent offensive coordination by Scarlett Bloodbath, Griffith, and Sundown – the latter providing some of the most consistently heads-up offense-to-defense transition work, often positioned as a bridging skater who could either drop to play defense or run up to open holes as the packs expanded and contracted.
Jess West broke a six lead jammer streak for Terminal in the penultimate jam of the game, adding an apex hop to grab 4 quick points for Arizona, but the deal had already been thoroughly sealed by Terminal City, who put out Maiden Sane for the final jam and a final lead status before the period clock expired.
The numbers tell a story on their own: In the second half, Terminal cut their penalties down to just 7, while Arizona picked up 23. For jammer penalties alone, Terminal had just 1 while Arizona suffered 7. Even still, Terminal had its highest scoring jams during regular game play, not power jams, highlighting the importance of their offensive strategy.
Maiden Sane had a banner game, coming out as the top scoring jammer for both teams at 86 points, followed by Kim Janna (who will retire at the end of this tournament) with 59 and Mulan Bruise at 33. Luz Chaos was the top scorer for Arizona at 29, followed by Erica d’Entremont at 24 (the only AZRD jammer with zero penalties) and Jess West at 15.
Terminal City moves on to play Stockholm tonight at 8 p.m. PDT – if they win, they earn the right to play for 5th place on Sunday.
Arizona proceeds to the consolation bracket for the 9th place game Sunday at 10 a.m. PDT, taking on Queen City.