(Photos by Bob Dunnell)
(BALLWIN, MO) For the flat-track faction known as the Smashinistas, the defending local champions of St. Louis-based Arch Rival Roller Derby, Saturday’s 272-218 setback to the M-80s resulted in mixed emotions.
In the quad-skate contest held at Midwest Sport Hockey in front of 650 spectators, the 54-point loss to the “mighty mateys” resulted in the team’s second straight defeat and final regular season finish of 2-2. That could be considered a bit of a downer.
But on the bright side for the Smashies, they advanced to the ARCH League Championship game held later this month. With all three local teams, which included the Stunt Devils, finishing with identical 2-2 records, the trophy entrants were determined by total point differential (points scored minus points allowed).
Using this methodology, the Stunts topped the ARCH standings with a differential of plus-79 (805-726) followed by the Smashinistas’ differential of minus-19 (828-847) and the M-80s’ finish of minus-60 (821-881).
As a result, the Smashinistas will defend their ARCH crown against the Stunt Devils at Queeny Park on Saturday, April 28. Discounted tickets are on sale right now at THIS LINK.
The M-80s arguably played their best game of the season by capitalizing on power jams obtained and a 69-0 second period rally that had some reaching for their calculators in order to compute a potential hard charge for title placement.
Trailing 2-1 after two jams, the Smashies claimed a 18-11 lead following veteran Flash’s 17-9 rotation that was aided by a power jam at the 25:40 mark. The M-80s’ Twig E. Smalls countered with a grand slam on the next rotation that shored the score to 18-16.
Smashies’ co-captain Bolt Action widened her team’s lead to 27-16 with a nine-point strike on the next jam.
Then following a 2-2 push in Jam 6, M-80s’ recent addition Jedi Knight-N-Gale recorded a 13-point power jam with 20:30 left in the frame that resulted in a 31-29 lead change.
With blocking paced by Cloak N’ Drag-Her, Smarty McFly, Rock Slobster and Birdsong, the Smashies regained the lead on the next flight as Flash churned a 24-5 strike that flipped the scoreboard to their favor, 53-36 with 18:30 left in the period.
M-80s’ jammer Shoulder, CO responded with a 10-4 strike on the next rotation that narrowed the score to 57-46 and Bad Axe added a grand slam at the 15:45 mark that whittled the differential to single digits, 57-51.
A scoreless Jam 11 was followed by the game’s fourth lead change as the M-80s’ Shoulder, CO collected a 19-6 power jam, resulting in a 70-63 scoreboard flip with twelve minutes left in the half.
The red flannels’ momentum continued as the period progressed. As the M-80s sported an 81-72 lead with nine minutes remaining, they surged ahead with a 27-0 run over the next three jams. Highlighted by a 18-point power jam from Bad Axe with 5:30 left, the loggers posted a 108-72 lead with 3:20 left in the period.
Feeling the heat, the Smashies rebounded with a 29-16 rotation from Vicious Van GoGo in the half’s penultimate jam that narrowed the score to 124-101 and an additional eight from Bolt Action in the final flight resulted in a 124-109 score that favored the M-80s at intermission.
The late-period momentum helped the defending champs in the early stages of the second period. With blocking assisted by Professor Rumbledore, Outlaw Josie Wheels, Poison Ivy, Holliver Fist and Rude-Off, the Smashinistas posted a two-jam, 19-9 rally, concluded by The Jukes on You’s 15-9 strike with 26:30 left that narrowed the score to 133-128.
In the period’s third jam, Flash and Bad Axe grinded a 14-12 rotation that favored the former, and the Smashies were knocking at the door of opportunity, trailing 145-142 with 24:20 left in the game.
The M-80s then proceeded to make their most dominant run of the game over the next ten jams, resulting in the aforementioned 69-0 rally with blocking paced by BEECH, PLEASE!, LuxFurious, Megabirch, Sumack Down, Fight Shrub, Jenny Loggins, Chop It Like Its Hot, Sequoia Destro-Ya, Maul Bunyan and Fiona Crabapple.
Launched by Knight-N-Gale’s 22-point power jam at the 22:20 mark and concluded with Shoulder, CO’s 17-point even-strength collection with 12:30 remaining, the M-80s widened their lead to 214-142.
As the M-80s were easily pulling away en route to back-to-back wins on the local docket, the suddenly-imperative missive for the Smashies was to collect points by any means necessary when obtaining lead jammer status while simultaneously killing the game clock in order to claim a berth to the ARCH April 28 title game.
This resulted in extremely high-scoring jams by both teams in the final stretches and a game-ending point accumulation of nearly 500 points for the pair. Vicious Van GoGo’s 26-17 jam with eleven minutes certainly helped, Bolt Action’s 22-16 at the nine mark aided and Flash’s 13-12 rotation with 3:40 left assisted the Samshies’ battle plan.
In an intense, second-period point collective, the M-80s outscored the Smashinistas 148-109 en route to their 272-218 victory. Knight-N-Gale, who received “MVP Jammer” designation on the evening for the M-80s, paced her team with 101 points, followed by Shoulder, CO’s 90.
Meanwhile the Smashinistas’ Flash, who churned out a team-high 64 points, topped her squad’s ledger.
For now, ARCH April 28’s finale is anyone’s for the taking as the Smashies and Stunt Devils split their head-to-head regular season games that included a nine-point nail biter claimed by the defending champs last December.
M-80s (272): Jedi Knight-N-Gale 101, Shoulder, CO 90, Bad Axe 44, BEECH, PLEASE! 29, Twig E. Smalls 17.
SMASHINISTAS (218): Flash 64, Vicious Van GoGo 55, Bolt Action 50, The Jukes on You 31, Cloak N’ Drag-Her 6.
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