MALMO, SWEDEN – These two teams had never met before, with this being the first trip to Europe for most of Charm City, and Helsinki no stranger to the European derby community. Despite a solid push from Charm City, bracket seeding won out in the end, and the Helsinki Ninja Turtles proved they were due a spot in their move upwards with a score of 308-144.
While Charm City sprung out on the first jam, pushing Helsinki into the front and claiming first lead jammer status, Dottie Deathwish seemed like they would immediately be forced by Maiju Rinne to call the jam. Instead, a quick in-and-out of the penalty box for each jammer kept the pack muddled and looking out for their opposing jammer, and Helsinki took ultimate advantage of that, claiming just one extra point on the resulting full two-minute jam.
Helsinki lead out of that first jam, 10-9, and the team only went on to widen that gap through the rest of game.
Slowed play in the pack was the name of the game, with teams circulating through three and four-pronged tripods and quadrangles. Jammers would have to dig for every inch, before they would usually flip around or bounce out and screech through the rest of the loop, before hitting the back of the pack and starting again. Dottie Deathwish was able to make a dent on the Helsinki defensive force, making it out for lead jammer no less than 6 of 13 jams played and earned a total of 74 points. That was still less than Helsinki’s highest scorer, Malou, at 113, on only 10 jams.
By the half, the penalty tally from both teams was low with neither gathering any more than three per player. With more people on the track, this added to a number of star pass attempts throughout the period for Charm, but wasn’t going to win back a game lead for them. The halftime score sat at Helsinki 177-71 over Charm City.
Back on the track, both teams were so ferociously focused on claiming the second period of play for themselves that they each fielded first up their highest scoring jammers: Dottie Deathwish and Malou, for Charm and Helsinki respectively. Charm City put everything they had into their defensive line, with Dottie spying opportunities on the outside lane for both first and second scoring passes, while an embattled Malou wasn’t going anywhere. However, on the third pass attempt, Helsinki plugged that outside hole, and Dottie’s passes came to an abrupt halt, bouncing their fortunes off the opposing blocker.
At that point, Helsinki reclaimed their game, and a series of 4-0 jams followed with conservative leaps in the score. But ultimately, for the rest of the half, Helsinki was in the majority of additions, claiming a slightly greater number of points in almost every jam.
It wasn’t till the final handful of jams that Charm was able to make a last effort to claim points. But ultimately the century point advantage out of the half in addition to two handfuls of non-scoring jams for Charm City would confirm their fate. Final score brought Helsinki victory, 308-144.
Helsinki went on to play Crime City at 8pm CEST, Friday (2pm EDT, 11am PDT). While Charm City goes on to play Rainy City on Sunday at 2pm (8am EDT, 5am PDT).