#14 Bear City Claws Past #10 Pirate City, 275-253

#14 Bear City Claws Past #10 Pirate City, 275-253 Photo credit: Steve Jurkovic Roller Derby Photography. facebook.com/SteveJurkovicRollerDerby

In a nail-biter of a game, #10 seed Pirate City took on #14 seed Bear City. Both teams were coming off of losses yesterday and came out of the gate looking to clench today’s victory.

While Bear City held lead for the majority of game, Pirate gave them a run for their money, slowly closing the lead a bit at a time until the game was tied at 241 when the game clock expired. However, in the overtime jam, a trip to the penalty box for Pirate City allowed Bear City to collect points, ultimately winning 275-253. Bear City will play E-Ville later this evening at 6:30pm EDT

Bear City began this game with their traditionally strong jamming on display. Mia Missile and Jane van Pain took lead and quickly established a consistent lead over Pirate City.

While both teams brought strong, seemingly immovable defensive walls, Bear City’s jammers found holes on the inside and outside regularly, and utilized these weaknesses to establish lead and score points over Pirate City. Initially, it felt like Bear City had this game in the bag, but Pirate City’s heart coupled with their smart blocking abilities made it clear by halfway through the first half that they were not going down without a fight.

Pirate City, who was coached by derby legend Sarah Hipel and Detroit teammate Murder City Mistress, utilized a strategy they have consistently displayed this season – drawing out jams as long as possible. At times, it seemed like this strategy was working against them, as there were several jams where the yield score was only a few points. But, ultimately, this strategy paid off. It allowed them to rack up points, stay hot on Bear City’s tail, and sap energy from the Berlin Bombshells.

Berlin held lead jammer 22 times to Pirate City’s 17 times, but this did not prevent Pirate from holding nearly even control over the game. Pirate had a bit of a scoring run near the end of the second half, stalling Bear’s momentum.

The score stood 119-89 to Pirate City at the half, though this game seemed to be in Bear City’s favor in terms of play, at this point.

In the second half, Pirate City came out with a renewed sense of energy, closing in on the Berlin Bombshells, but still staying within about 30 points of them.

Throughout the game, both teams spent about the same amount of time in the penalty box, with 42 total minutes for Pirate City and 46 total minutes for Bear City. Pirate City had four blockers who were in the majority of the game – Coup d’eTalia, Crunch, Papercut, and TutanKamage. Perhaps due to these four, Pirate City’s blocking was remarkably strong, and this helped them hold Bear City even as the team generally dominated lead jammer status.

Nearing the end of the game, with about eight minutes left to play, it seemed as though Pirate City – in spite of their enormous effort – would not be able to overtake Bear City. The Bombshells had still managed to maintain a solid 25-30 point lead over Pirate City.

However, in a move similar to their game play against Boston yesterday, Pirate City had a huge run right toward the end of the game. In jam 17 of the second half, Ballistic Button took lead. While Jane van Pain was right behind, they were able to close the gap from a 30-point lead, to a score of 216-210 in Bear City’s favor.

In the final natural jam, it seemed that this really was anyone’s game. The score was 237-227, with Bear City in the lead. Pirate City really needed to secure lead jammer in order to win, and they did just that. Shan took lead, while Donner Doro went to the box for Bear City. Shan achieved a grand slam in that time, while Pirate’s defense held Donner Doro back once she was released from the box. Shan’s scoring brought the game to within one point, and then tied the game just as the clock expired.

In the resulting, and rare, overtime jam, Mia Missile took on Ballistic Button. Mia used her signature apex jumps to score ten points for Bear City. Ballistic had taken five, but was then sent to the box on a track cut, allowing Mia Missile to put up point after point, ultimately securing the win 275-253. Bear City will go on to play E-Ville later this evening at 6:30pm EDT.

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