Sweet mercy, we sold out! Thank you to all of the fans who joined us for Saturday's bout; we scanned 4723 tickets...but considering all of the children that come to our bouts that go unticketed, Roy staff, and MNRG volunteers, it's very likely that the Legendary Roy Wilkins Auditorium played host to 5,000 women, men, and children!
The extent to which this matchup was anticipated could not be underestimated. With the Gardas a game ahead of the Rockits at the start of the bout, the Gardas had an opportunity to shut the Rockits out of the season championship for the first time since the women in red rose from the ashes of the first season's Silver Bullets. Couple that with their sixty-point defeat at the hands of the Rockits in the last season championship, and you really have all of the elements for a classic grudge match.
The Gardas sent out Suzie Smashbox as opening jammer, while the Rockits put forward Vuedoo Prodigy. Suzie glanced past the pack for the lead, while Vuedoo went out of her way to get around Garda Belt enforcer Tiki Torture; on the back turn, Vue cut the track passing the final blocker and got sent to the box for the bout's first power jam. Suzie scored five and trapped Vue in the box by calling off the jam. The Gardas played Angelfire for her first official jam of the season following a lengthy recovery from injury, but Vue emerged from the box, got low on her skates, and took the lead. Angelfire flew right behind her, and Vue cut her passing run too close as she passed one Garda and called off the jam...but before the call was acknowledged by the refs, Angelfire passed for four. 9-2 Gardas with seventeen left.
The Gardas continued their normal rotation of Suzie every other jam; Suzie returned against Rockit blocker/jammer double-threat Scarmen Hellectra. Suzie found a narrow line through the inside of a turn for the lead while Scarmen Hellectra pounded past Tiki Torture, each scoring one. Harmony Killerbruise took her first turn as jammer against Garda rookie Cassie Rolle. Cassie passed through most of the pack before encountering trouble at the front. Several of her teammates came forward to assist, giving Harmony a moment to catch the Garda Belt pack looking and scored four. Suzie responded with three points off of a power jam and trapped opponent Abbie Mischief in the penalty box for the following jam. Angelfire charged off the jammer line unopposed and scored two as Rolls Wilder screened out the Rockits by tossing Optimiss Crime into them. After a jam to rest, Abbie slammed Garda Belt Cassie Rolle, who could not progress past Vuedoo Prodigy or the wiry Rockit blocker Killahertz. Abbie's slam brought the Rockits within three, 15-12.
Harmony Killerbruise next took the lead jam against Suzie Smashbox, who got stopped by a rotating pack of Rockit blockers. In the midst of the melee, Suzie got called out for back-blocking and Harmony started accelerating. The Rockits captured Damnzelsly in their midst and stomped on their brakes, leaving Tiki Torture, Rumblebee, and Citizen Pain well ahead of the pack. The Rockits had created a stationary pack which most of the Gardas were far away from - well beyond the twenty-foot engagement zone. Harmony blazed around the track, picking up eighteen points whilst her opponents could not legally touch her. Abbie Mischief grabbed five more in the following jam, while Suzie scored three (though Suzie would return to the penalty box on accumulation of minors). Harmony grabbed the lead and another two points while the Rockits mobbed Garda blocker Tiki Torture. Vuedoo Prodigy got knocked through the inside of Turn 1 and 2 as the Garda front line attempted to send her to the penalty box on a forced track-cut...but Vue kept her head and dropped to the ground, letting the Gardas pass her so that she could reestablish herself from the back of the pack and take the lead...which she did for nine points as the first half ended, 46-19.
The Gardas controlled the opening minutes as the Rockits made some simple errors and could not find their way past the formidable Garda front four. Harmony's triple slam-plus (and the cunning of Coochie Coup and Scarmen Hellectra, who appeared to set up the trap) flipped the game on its head, while two consecutive penalties by Suzie Smashbox allowed the Rockits to re-establish their game. The first half saw Rockits employing an unusual tactic: Contain strong Garda blockers instead of picking off newer players while the Rockits jammer is in the pack. The strategy appeared to work; players like Tiki, Hanna Belle, and Citizen Pain had limited movement during much of the game.
In the second half, neither Vuedoo Prodigy nor Suzie Smashbox could take the lead in the first jam, but Suzie Smashbox re-engaged the pack first. Garda veteran Hanna Belle Lector gave Suzie a sweet armwhip, but she telegraphed the move, allowing Honeydew Felon to intercept Suzie and knock her out of bounds. Suzie scored three points before being sent to the penalty box, and the Rockits attempted a second slowdown, trapping Punish Mint Patty to establish a slow pack. The veteran Patty would have none of that and shouldered her way out to start the pack moving again. Vue nonetheless scored fourteen. Narrowly avoiding a transformative block from Optimiss Crime, Harmony Killerbruise took the unopposed lead and withstood an illegal hit from Rumblebee to take nine unanswered points. Tiki Torture and Trixie Whipsum dueled next, and though Trixie took the lead and four points, Tiki broke past several Rockit blockers eager to drop the hard-hitting Garda Belt and earned three points of her own. Rockits 73, Gardas 25 with twelve remaining.
Harmony returned to the line to jam against Angelfire. Angling around the outside, Harmony took the lead and started to accelerate as Angelfire got sent to the box. Nipping just out of range of Garda Belt Stacy Wrekt, Harmony re-engaged the pack and took another hit from Rumblebee, who received her third major...but did nothing to stop Harmony's advance. Angelfire came back out and accidentally tripped a Rockit as she moved through Turn 4. Angelfire returned to the penalty box, and Harmony completed a triple slam. Vuedoo Prodigy then took the fourth consecutive lead for the Rockits, but could only score three before Rumblebee grabbed Scarmen Hellectra's legs and got sent out for gross misconduct (said Scarmen Hellectra after the bout, "My leg suddenly got heavy, so I looked down and saw a Garda Belt attached to it...") 91-25 Rockits.
Rockits jammer Trixie took the next lead as Suzie Smashbox got called for a back block to some lusty boos from the sellout crowd. Trixie gained five before going herself to the penalty box; Suzie took two. Angelfire took advantage of Trixie's position and slipped through a small hole opened by Garda screens to get four in the next jam. Suzie Smashbox continued the Gardas' minor rally, taking four points as her teammate Cassie Rolle took a hit for the team from Trinity Knox while her captain slipped by. The final three jams continued the steady pace of the Rockit jammers; both Scarmen Hellectra and Harmony scored ten each while blockers Konceal N Kari, Icepack, and Pain Gretzky rotated through the front to provide enough interference to deny Angelfire passage. Angelfire went to the box twice in those two jams, but scored eight in the last jam. At the end of regulation, the Rockits scored a needed win against the Garda Belts. With the score 118-35, the Rockits are now in second place on the basis of point differential.
The Gardas had significant penalty issues in the half; Garda jammers spent almost six minutes in the penalty box, allowing their opponents ample opportunity to build up the lead. What's more, every single Rockit jammer scored in the double digits in this bout. The Rockits also allowed only one jammer - Angelfire - to score more than five points in a single jam. They seemed to have the Garda back blockers rolled up in red cotton for part of the game, giving their scorers the opportunity to keep their speed unchecked as they hit the front of the pack
The Rockits will play the Dagger Dolls on March 6th, while the Gardas must take on the unbeaten Atomic Bombshells.
91 Suzie Smashbox (6-11) 24 pts
c² Angelfire (3-8) 16 pts
H8U Tiki Torture (0-1) 3 pts
350 Cassie Rolle (0-2) 0 pts
4x4 Rumblebee (0-1) 0 pts
75 Harmony Killerbruise (6-7) 58 pts
LXIX Vuedoo Prodigy (3-5) 28 pts
6 Trixxie Whipsum (2-4) 11 pts
28 Scarmen Hellectra (1-3) 11 pts
318 Abbie Mischief (1-4) 10 pts