PHILADELPHIA, PA – In the first game of the tournament Crime City was sure to make a statement in their debut performance at Championships. The #9-ranked Montréal New Skids on the Block took 3rd Place in Seattle while #12 Crime City finished 4th in Malmö. The crowd seemed to have a large Canadian presence, cheering on each of Montréal’s small victories, but Crime City kept taking the momentum back. With the score tied up with under five minutes left, this game was uncertain down to the very last jam.
Crime City won lead percentage for the game at an average of 52.6% but Montréal took hold of the game in the final quarter of play. Both teams had very consistent halves with the same amount of penalties and nearly the same amount of points in each period. The New Skids took a slight edge, however, and even with Falcon Punch taking a seat in the penalty box in the final seconds of the game, Montréal won 133-129.
In the first jam, both Montréal’s Miracle Whips and Crime City’s Prince Sofia each nearly hopped out of the pack first but both got reabsorbed by their opposition. Miracle Whips eventually did, but after failing to pass the last blocker in bounds, did not earn lead status. The jam was destined to go a full two minutes after Sofia stashed the star. Signature mohawk hops by Whips got her around for quick grand slams while Dykestalker tried to spring Sofia. By jam’s end, Montréal took the first game lead 13-3.
Crime City worked on the first lead change over the next two jams, with Curly Håår and King K each earning lead status and adding points. Håår’s hard push from the jam start slid Montréal across the sport court and was able to get three points before calling it off. Then, while Crime City continually recycled The Honey Badger, King K made multiple passes to put them ahead 19-13.
With a delayed call off, Mel E Juana snuck in three points and then eight more by Miracle Whips put Montréal back on top. It was Curly Håår who kicked off a scoring run for Crime City again, and with Falcon Punch chasing her around to the pack, Crime City positioned themselves so she could pick up all four and left the New Skids with zero. Crime added two 3-point jams to take a 10-point lead 38-28 while Montréal put the pressure on with star passes.
A little over ten minutes into the game both teams gave up their first jammer penalties. Crime City got the first power jam when Miracle Whips sat with a track cut while Curly Håår had already earned lead status. Crime City split off two Montréal blockers and Håår jumped out with five points along the edge of the track. Before the end of the jam, however, she earned a track cut of her own, setting Montréal up for a power start. Falcon Punch leaped over the back of a blocker for the next lead status and grabbed four points, and Crime City’s lead was shortened to 38-32.
Crime City took a time-out and kick-started their momentum again. They only allowed the New Skids three points for the next five jams while they worked on a small point spread. Both teams showed they could hold jammers with just two blockers at times, something Crime City had to do by necessity with their blockers rotating to the box more often. Montréal took a timeout of their own, but with everyone on the track in the next jam things slowed down and the jams remained low scoring. It was almost a choreographed dance on the track as each teams’ tripod sweeping back and forth laterally while one opposing blocker in each tried to mess things up.
With under nine minutes in the half, it seemed like Crime City was taking charge of the game with the score in their lead, 63-35. Montréal was favored to win this game but much like everyone else seemed a little taken off guard with how well the Malmö team was doing in their first Champs appearance. Montréal turned up their recycling power in the final few jams of the half, and with the help of Mange Moi El Cul’s offense and a cut on Curly Håår, Montréal went into halftime trailing by two points, 66-64.
By this point, Miracle Whips was the most productive jammer for Montréal with 35 of their points while Curly Håår and Prince Sofia had each earned 21 for Crime City. The Honey Badger had to rely on star passes to get out of the confines of the Crime pack, so the New Skids reduced their rotation to just three while Crime City stuck to their rotation.
Miracle Whips continued their scoring streak in the second half with a 14-point jam, regaining the game lead for the New Skids 78-66, before holding Prince Sofia to just four points in a power jam. Despite Crime City’s following power start, King K and two Crime City blockers switched spots in the box with Falcon Punch and the jam ended 12-4 in Montréal’s favor. However, Malmö continued a streak of lead statuses and brought it to a one-point game after 13 points by Curly Håår.
The last 20 minutes of the game remained close as Crime City worked up to 100 points, but then Montréal swung back and brought their score to 99. The teams fought for control of the front at the jam start, with one team just molding around the other in braced formations. It was the last ten minutes where lead status was going to make or break it for either team, and Crime City was only able to get it three times of the last eleven jams.
A couple long jams went by but then three grand slams by Falcon Punch brought Montréal back into the lead with the help of a power jam. With 7:37 on the clock, Crime City took a timeout. The Skids started the next jam with Prince Sofia standing in the box, but their pack was able to rotate around Mel E Juana and recycle her back. Surgical Strike tried to play offense but seemed to just keep Crime City in play instead. Prince Sofia returned the track and took lead status and 14 points later, Crime City took the lead by one point, 122-121.
At 5:14 left in the game, Montréal took a timeout which was extended by an Official Timeout due to a delay of game. After Mel E Juana passed the star in the previous jam, she failed to report to the box with a penalty as a blocker at the end which resulted in a full one-minute penalty to be served. To the crowd’s delight, Montréal earned lead despite the pack disadvantage and Whips was only able to squeeze in one point, but it was enough to tie the game at 122.
Crime City took their last team timeout with 4:13 on the clock but still had an official review in their pocket. Jammers again took turns nearly escaping the pack but after Biggley Smallz recycled Prince Sofia way back, Falcon Punch broke out with lead status. Sofia tried for an apex jump but questioned her inbounds status after taking a hit on the landing and got recycled back. By the end of the jam each had scored, but Montréal pushed ahead 130-126.
Crime City’s defense was again outstepped by Miracle Whips and three more points took the score to 133-126 and a Montréal timeout. With 1:38 on the clock, either team could control the final jam with lead status, something neither team earned.
In the final jam, Falcon Punch and Curly Håår kept getting knocked out until it looked like Håår was finally going to get out first. She did, but not legally, leaving Falcon Punch as the only jammer on the track. Despite their excellent hold on Punch, they still couldn’t end the jam early enough to use their official timeout or pick up scoring until there were 37 seconds left in the jam. With 10 seconds left, Curly Håår finally finished her initial pass and Falcon Punch took a turn in the box, but there wasn’t enough time and the jam ended with a Montréal win, 133-129.
The Montréal New Skids advance to a 6 PM EDT (Saturday, 10 AM AEDT) game against #1-ranked Victorian Roller Derby League. Crime City still gets one more Champs appearance with a consolation game against the loser of Game 8 on Sunday at 2 PM EST (7 PM CET).
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