Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Set to maximum yield, Bombshells break Rockit streak, 78-76

For many fans of the Minnesota RollerGirls, the Rockits have always been the winners. They just win; they're the serious, hard-working, take-care-of-your-body kind of players that can tell you the ins and outs of the game as they outdrink you. If you started attending bouts in Season 4, you've never known anything different. On Saturday, the Rockits lost. More importantly, the Atomic Bombshells - under the leadership of Mitzi Massacre and Misfit Maiden - played a smart game and beat the back-to-back champions of the Minnesota RollerGirls in a match that brought the fans roaring to their feet.

Venus Thightrap - lately the prime pivot for the All-Stars - returned to her jammer roots for the Atomic Bombshells against Harmony Killerbruise for the first jam. As the jammers made their way through on the initial pass, Venus' blockers opened the way for their scorer, then knocked the Rockit's franchise jammer to her back foot long enough for Venus to take the lead. Venus did not quite time the call of the jam, so Harmony grabbed a point to the Bombshell's two. Similarly, Bombshell L'exi Cuter took the next lead, but Abbie used the L'exi-shaped hole in the pack to get through herself and stole two points. Mae Gusta shot through the inside with ease for the Bombshells while Venus momentarily held back Harmony's jam...but the Rockit still got a point.

After a fast three-point jam from L'exi, Mae Gusta jammed against Harmony Killerbruise, again took the lead, and again allowed the Rockits to score. The Bombshells had so far taken every lead, scoring 17...but the Rockits kept stealing points. First bout jitters for the Bombshells, perhaps...but L'exi Cuter sprinted it off with an unanswerable grand slam-plus as she sped out of the pack through a hole made by Mitzi Massacre. Shaken, the Rockits called a timeout. 26-8 with eleven minutes left.

The Rockit defense became startlingly high-risk; three of their players went to the box in the next jam while Mae Gusta scored four. This led to an easy grand slam for L'exi Cuter against the Rockits' Vuedoo Prodigy as L'exi sped past a depleted Rockit pack. Harmony finally grabbed a lead jam and four for the Reds as her opponent was waylaid by Rockit blocker Pain Gretzky, but it was their first lead after eight in a row for the Bombshells. L'exi returned fire with a grand slam despite being tracked through the pack by Vuedoo Prodigy; Vue hit or stopped L'exi so many times, she may have kept the young Bombshell from scoring a double slam. A back block penalty from opposing jammer Trixxie Whipsum (forced by Tara Skatesov) allowed Mae Gusta to go to the line unopposed in the next jam, scoring another slam.

Scarmen Hellectra grabbed the second Rockit lead jam of the night with two minutes left in the half, scoring an unanswered five against opponent Tara. Scarmen also called off the jam just as L'exi was sent to the box as a blocker...trapping her so that she could not return to the line during the half. The ploy did not appear to do much; both Venus and Abbie Mischief each scored four in the final jam of the first half. Bombshells 49-23 at the half.

Five-for-five lead jamming from L'Exi-Cuter and several unanswered grand slams should have unsettled the Rockits. However, the Bombshell jammers weren't closing off their jams their opponents an opportunity to score on them amidst the chaos of the pack. On the other hand, the Bombshell defense shocked the staff and fans by holding the Rockits to under thirty in the half.

The fire of the Bombshells almost flamed out at the beginning of the second half. Harmony Killerbruise took the first lead jam over Misfit Maiden, and while Harmony accelerated, the refs sent Misfit to the box as she tried to break through the back of the pack. The Bombshells seemed to panic as Harmony kept lapping and started trying to divebomb or strongarm the jammer...sending the defense to the box as well. Harmony posted a quadruple slam - 20 points - as the track emptied of Bombshells. Abbie Mischief took up the remainder of Misfit's power jam and - despite rapid-fire blocking from Tara Skatesov and Jocelyn D Jewels - scored another fifteen as the Bombshells continued to be shelled by the Rockit pack. Misfit re-entered but was sent back out to the box...However, the refs called Abbie on penalties just as time expired on the jam. With five minutes gone in the second half, the Rockits retook the lead 58-49.

Abbie's penalty at the end of the jam kept Misfit in the box until the start of the next one when Abbie officially began her penalty (as only one jammer can be in the box at a time). This meant Misfit couldn't swap out for a fresh jammer and had to start from the box, not the jammer line. Misfit pinballed her way through the pack and lapped, staying free of fouls while Abbie returned to the track and promptly got sent out again. Misfit endured a very rocky two minutes as Killahertz, Trinity Knox, and Meshugenough all laid into her, trying to force a foul. No such luck; Misfit hit the bench after seven minutes with the jammer star, scoring five. L'exi took Misfit's place and scored nine against a defiant Rockit defense...a jam that sent many Rockits to the box. Abbie returned from penalties as well for four, but L'exi regained the lead for the Bombshells, 63-62 with ten minutes left to play.

The Rockits and Bombshells seesawed over the next two jams. Harmony stole the lead on a fast four as her teammate Scarmen Hellectra held up opposing jammer Mae Gusta, and L'exi came right back for a Bombshell four. The Rockits simply could not contain L'exi Cuter; two jams later, L'exi led again and outscored Abbie 2-1.

Despite the occasional point stealing from the Rockits, L'exi's strong showing meant that the Bombshells continued to control the clock...and it was starting to run low. With only five minutes remaining, the coaches sent Scarmen back to the jammer line against Mae Gusta...and Scarmen came up big. Although she did not get the lead, Scarmen sped ahead of the pack and scored nine to Mae's three. The Bombshells called a timeout with three to go. Rockits took the lead, 76-72.

With the two teams separated by four, the Bombshells put up L'exi and the Rockits sent forward the hard-hitting Honeydew Felon. L'exi, seemingly tireless (and frankly immortal at this point), sped ahead of her booty-blocking opponent, took the lead, and scored three. One point game, and the Bombshells sent forward Venus Thightrap against Harmony Killerbruise for the final jam. The Rockits called a timeout, and the Bombshells took the opportunity to replace Venus with the red-hot L'exi. L'exi would not be stopped; despite hits from Vuedoo Prodigy and Scarmen Hellectra (sending both Rockits to the box), L'exi scored her tenth lead jam of the forty-minute game and skated as if her team depended on her while Harmony was held back by Tara, Misfit, and Diamond Rough. L'exi accelerated and scored three before calling off the jam with less than two seconds remaining...and with the Rockits out of timeouts, the Bombshells collapsed on the track as their fans screamed their win to the rafters. Final score: 78-76.

Amazing match. The first part of the second half showed exactly how good the Rockits could be at playing the game, stranding Misfit in the midst of a hard-hitting Rockit pack...but Misfit hung through long enough for the Bombshells to recover and knock around Abbie the same way. It's clear that this summer has been very good to the Bombshells as so many rookies trained at the level of the All-Stars. We can hope that next month's matches are so close, so intense, so chock-full of awesome. Congratulations to the Atomic Bombshells for their victory!

187 L'exi-Cuter 10-10, 43 pts
456 Mae Gusta 3-5, 16 pts
55 Venus Thightrap 3-4, 14 pts
313 Misfit Maiden 0-3, 5 pts
47 Shady O'Dread 0-1, 0 pts
21 Tara Skatesov 0-1, 0 pts

75 Harmony Killerbruise 4-8, 34 pts
318 Abbie Mischief 1-7, 26 pts
28 Scarmen Hellectra 1-2, 14 pts
6 Trixxie Whipsum 0-3, 0 pts
LXIX Vuedoo Prodigy 0-2, 0 pts
333 Coochie Coup 0-1, 2 pts
25 to Life Honeydew Felon 0-1, 0 pts

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