SEATTLE, WA – Both #1 Rose City and #5 Montréal came into Saturday’s headline matchup looking to continue their winning streak, each team with only one early-season loss on their 2017 record. Montréal made Rose City fight for every point, but Portland’s Wheels of Justice ended up taking a hard-fought victory to a berth in Sunday’s championship game with a final score of 204-98.
An early power jam for Rose City’s Loren Mutch was hindered early by Montréal workhorse Surgical Strike, but Mutch found a path along the outside, traveling beneath an approaching Montréal tripod for a nine point jam. Surgical Strike found themselves denying an apex jump to Rose’s Brute as Montréal took advantage of a pair of jammer penalties and a depleted Portland pack to go on a 10-4 run, and another four points from Montréal’s Mel E Juana gave Montréal an early 14-13 lead.
Rose halted this momentum, picking up eleven of the next twelve lead jammer calls, with expertly timed call-offs from Mutch, Brute, Frisky Biscuits, and Bonnie Thunders holding Montréal scoreless in ten of those jams. A few slick spins from Montréal’s Miracle Whips on a power jam provided some hope for Montréal in the form of a 21-13 jam, but Rose City otherwise used this momentum to move the score up to 118-40.
Mel E Juana and Miracle Whips both found open lanes to chip away at the Rose City lead, as Montréal spent the remainder of the first period regaining momentum and halting Rose’s advances. The Rose defense responsible for holding back Mel E Juana in the final jam of the period succumbed to track entropy, as Mel propelled themselves laterally in search of an opening. They picked up eight more points to put Rose’s lead at 126-54 at the half.
Each team doubled down on defense as Montréal went on a 42-33 run for the majority of the second half. An early Bonnie Thunders power jam saw Thunders first spin around a Montréal wall, then trot past some scattering defenders, and finally crashing through opponents. A returning Falcon Punch made Montréal’s initial pass on a backward glide, compelling a timely Bonnie Thunders call-off.
An impressive pirouette by Miracle Whips to stay inbounds while traversing an apex was marred by a sudden strong hit by Rose City’s Jes Rivas, but a Bonnie Thunders back block gave Whips a power jam that she celebrated with a line-to-line juke that earned five points, and an early call-off to keep Bonnie in the box to start the next jam. This risky move paid off, as Falcon Punch quickly picked up their second lead call of the game while Bonnie contended with a Montréal tripod, giving Montréal an 8-4 advantage on the jam.
A Miracle Whips no-pass while Montréal’s defensive line held Bonnie Thunders for a full 75 seconds, was marred as Whips committed a jammer-on-jammer back block, letting Bonnie emerge just in time to call the jam for a Rose power start that turned into a quick nine points from Frisky Biscuits. The Rose City trio of Tarantula, Jes Rivas and Jessica Chestnut took turns impeding Mel E Juana while Loren Mutch fought her way through the pack; just a few jams later, the same duo found themselves being recycled back for a full ninety seconds before Mutch was able to emerge and steal a last-minute 3-1 lead.
A pair of track cuts in the penultimate jam by Miracle Whips was only salvaged by an insistent Montreal defense holding Brute scoreless, but it was Loren Mutch who put an exclamation point on the bout, picking up lead while Whips served their penalty and splitting the Montréal defense for a nineteen point final jam and a final score of 204-98.
Montréal will be facing Rat City Sunday at 4PM PDT for a shot at third place, while Rose advances to the weekend’s championship game against Angel City at 6PM.