Denver Roller Derby

2017 WFTDA D1 Champs 3rd Place: #3 Gotham stages a second half turn-around on #5 Denver, 178-128

2017 WFTDA D1 Champs 3rd Place: #3 Gotham stages a second half turn-around on #5 Denver, 178-128 Photo credit: Derby With Recess. facebook.com/DerbyWithRecess

PHILADELPHIA, PA – With the battle for the 3rd place medal at stake, Gotham was clearly not looking to turn back time to 2009 – the last time they left WFTDA Championships without a medal. But Denver was aware that their roster held two of the key players that Rose City leveraged the last two years to keep Gotham from the top spot, and was obviously looking to make the most of it.

In the end, the scrappy play and reactionary blocking to ricocheting offensive moves took its toll on both teams. But after a first-half lead from Denver based on jam leads and multiple scoring passes, Gotham took their lessons into the halftime break and applied them wholeheartedly with the result of turning around their fate and claiming a 178-128 win over Denver, to take 3rd place exit and a medal from the tournament.

2017 WFTDA D1 Champs: #1 Victoria grounds #5 Denver, 287-65

2017 WFTDA D1 Champs: #1 Victoria grounds #5 Denver, 287-65 Photo credit: Derby With Recess. facebook.com/DerbyWithRecess

PHILADELPHIA, PA – Both #1-ranked Victorian Roller Derby League and #5 Denver Roller Derby won their games yesterday to get here, and each proved something in their initial performances. Against Montréal, Victoria showed what a machine they could be defensively, but also that they can be penalty prone. Denver justified their round one bye after taking #4 Angel City out 196-166, but also that Scald Eagle’s scoring ability led that force.

VRDL and the Mile High Club hadn’t played each other since the 2015 Big O where Victoria won 150-115. This time around Denver could barely score and Victoria took them out by 222 points, a bigger spread than what they had with #9 Montréal. The Aussies attacked every vulnerability that Denver showed, and killed their Mile Hydra dream with a 287-65 victory.

2017 WFTDA D1 Champs: #5 Denver levitates past #4 Angel City, 196-165

2017 WFTDA D1 Champs: #5 Denver levitates past #4 Angel City, 196-165 Photo credit: Derby With Recess. facebook.com/DerbyWithRecess

PHILADELPHIA, PA – Friday night’s showdown between Denver and Angel City seemed, at times, to be a clash between quantity and quality. The relatively penalty-averse Mile High Club would slowly and steadily extend its modest lead with dynamic defensive structures and well-timed jammer call-offs, and then the Hollywood Scarlets would explode for multiple passes, riding Denver’s bumper so closely you’d think they were driving under the speed limit in the left lane.

Angel City seemed poised to take control of the game in the second half, twice briefly stealing the lead from Denver and extending that lead to 19 points by picking up lead jammer eight times in a row late in the period. But Scald Eagle, after an unassuming 28-point first half, seemed unstoppable in the clutch, putting up 92 of Denver’s 113 second half points and capping the game by providing 60 points to Denver’s commanding 73-23 run in the last five jams of the game. Denver took a final 196-165 victory, and earned the chance to take on Victorian Roller Derby League Saturday at 6pm for a shot at the championship game.

D1M: 1st Place, #1 Gotham outdoes #2 Denver, 176-85

D1M: 1st Place, #1 Gotham outdoes #2 Denver, 176-85 Photo credit Marko Niemelä

MALMO, SWEDEN – When Gotham strides into a game, it usually seems like an inevitability who’s likely to come out on top – people tend to just cheer for the underdog and keep an interested eye on what points spreads say about each team’s relative rankings. But in this game, with two players on the roster who have experience beating Gotham, there was always going to be a little extra tension around the game conclusion. Certainly, no one was about to speak with absolute certainty what the outcome might be.

Going into this game, both teams were liable to have been relaxed since both of the final games for the day are between teams that have already confirmed their places at Champs in Philly this year. And it’s always an interesting unfolding, when teams have nothing but next year’s rankings on their mind when they enter a game in playoffs: some respond with joy by playing up, with no nerves to contend with, while others seem to have a more lax entry and a slightly sloppier play than their usual.

Either way, Gotham vs Denver was going to be some excellent roller derby, and so when Gotham finally won with a score of 176-85, the audience was satisfied that they’d had an opportunity to watch some stellar play.

D1M: #2 Denver surpasses #3 London, 214-102

D1M: #2 Denver surpasses #3 London, 214-102 Photo Credit Marko Niemelä

MALMÖ, SWEDEN – #3 London Rollergirls had two of the most anticipated games of the weekend. Saturday morning, London barely edged past a hungry #6 Rainy City team, to earn their spot to play against #2 Denver Roller Derby that evening. Meanwhile, Denver handled #7 Stockholm Saturday morning to punch their ticket to Champs and get a shot at a number one seed in Philadelphia.

What eventuated was far closer and more of a battle than the final score of 214-102 might imply, with Scald Eagle taking on the most points jamming for her new Colorado team against the London slow grinding churning tripods of London. What some people have overlooked is that Scald Eagle is not the only Rose City transplant on the Denver team and that last year’s Champs MVP, Brawn Swanson, is a bonus to the Denver defensive line and was part of the closer for London’s fate.