Heartland Havoc: Day Two
Windy City Shocks Madison, 94-63
Detroit Ousts Minnesota, 99-77
Gotham Ejects Philly, 139-81
Carolina Shuts Down Providence, 98-55
(t7) Windy City 94, (t1) Madison 63
In a massive upset, #7 seed Windy City kicked off a day of surprises by denying Madison’s Mad Rollin’ Dolls their long-expected trip to September’s national tournament, upending the #1 seed 94-63 with an incredible display of defensive teamwork.
The game started out just as was expected, with Madison establishing a quick lead with the help of Windy City’s jammer Athena DeCrime collecting four minors and going to the penalty box on the very first jam. Five jams deep into the game, Madison was cruising 23-7 and was confident enough to pull off a rare star pass on the sixth jam, with Mouse handing off the star to Chop Suzzy on a jam against Koka Loka. That brought the score to Madison 31, Windy City 15 with about 10 minutes left in the period — and then Madison’s jammers found themselves almost completely unable to score points against an suddenly inpenetrable Windy City defense. Madison only scored 1 point for the rest of the period, and the Windy City girls chipped away at that lead until they’d narrowed it to just one, with the period ending 32-31 for Madison.
Fans and audience members might have been forgiven for thinking that the #1 seed was just suffering a momentary lapse, but the second period proved that Windy City was making a serious run for the victory. Absolutely smothering defense kept the Madison girls from creating any offense at all for the first seven jams of the period, with respected Madison jammers Mouse, Jenny Knoxville and Darling Nikki all getting shut out twice. Meanwhile, the Windy City jammers, led by Malice in Chains, Yvette Yourmaker and Koka Loka, got lead jammer for a whopping 10 jams in a row and piled up a series of 4-0 and 0-0 jams, going on a 16-0 run to start the period. Across the first and second periods, Madison was only able to score a single point over the course of 12 jams! Over the course of the second period, Madison was outscored 32-7, and Windy City had established a 63 to 39 lead when time ran out in the second.
Madison fared slightly better in the third period, and for a short time looked to be trying to put together a comeback. Windy City’s Varla Vendetta started the period off well for the Chicago girls, dropping an 8-0 point jam on Madison jammer Mouse, but Madison finally got some offense on the next couple of jams with a 4-0 for Jewel of Denial over Yvette Yourmaker and another 4-0 for Jenny Knoxville over Hoosier Mama, bringing the score to Windy City 71, Madison 48 with about 15 minutes to go in the game. The margin stayed about the same for the next few jams, and then Madison suffered a major setback when jammer Back Doris failed to get to the jammer start line before the first whistle blew, forcing Madison to skate without a jammer. Windy City jammer Koka Loka rang up 7 points in Doris’ absence, making it Windy City 84, Madison 51 with about 10 minutes left to play. The game play got a bit more physical as it became increasingly clear that Madison wasn’t going to pull out a comeback, but still the jam outcomes were almost always the same — Madison jammers trapped behind walls of two or three Windy City blockers while the Windy City blockers escaped to daylight, lead jammer status, and more points. In the end, Windy City pulled off possibly the biggest upset in the short history of flat-track roller derby tournament play, ending Madison’s Heartland Havoc experience after just 60 minutes. Final score was Windy City 94, Madison 63.
There was a damper put on Windy City’s victory, as effective blocker Donna Party suffered a broken fibula in the third period. Windy City takes one of the four slots in Austin’s national tournament, and moves on to battle Carolina in a semifinal match on Sunday. That game kicks off at 11am.
(t9) Detroit 99, (t2) Minnesota 77
Clearly not wanting Windy City to have all the underdog glory, #9 seed Detroit followed up the shocking opening upset with a major upset of their own, taking out #2 seed Minnesota in an extremely physical bout.
The first five jams of the bout were a seesaw affair. Racer McChaseher got Detroit a slim lead with an opening 4-3 two minute jam over Roxanne Rolls, but two jams later Minnesota’s Desi Cration put up two grand slams on Elle McFearsome and staked Minnesota to a 13-8 lead. Detroit had an answer for that, though, first tying the game at 21 and then going ahead 30-21 when Vega Vendetta started a jam unopposed and picked up a grand slam point on the penalized Roxanne Rolls. While that lead shrank and grew for the rest of the game, Detroit never trailed again. On the period’s second-to-last jam, Desi Cration once again put up big numbers for Minnesota, getting an 8-0 jam over Cookie Rumble to close the score to Detroit 35, Minnesota 33. After Killbox was able to put up a 3-0 over Voodoo Prodigy to end the period, Detroit was up 38 to 33.
Detroit’s most powerful jammer, Racer McChaseher, kicked off the second period by running up 8 points on Voodoo Prodigy, who was still in the box from the end of the previous period, and Detroit continued to build up on their lead throughout the period, pushing it all the way to 68-49 with about 8 minutes left in the period. At that point, though, Minnesota put together their most focused series of the bout, gaining lead jammer status four times in a row and shutting out Detroit for the last 5 jams of the period while scoring 14 unanswered points. When the period ended on a 2-0 jam for Minnesota’s Jawbreaker over Racer McChaseher, Minnesota looked like they were on the verge of taking the game back, with the score Detroit 68, Minnesota 66.
The momentum that Minnesota had built up seemed to vanish in between periods, though — Detroit picked up lead jammer on the first 8 jams of the period, making it almost completely impossible for Minnesota to get points on the board. Minnesota was shut out for the first five jams of the period and was never able to score more than 4 points in a jam. When Minnesota’s Rebel Stella was finally able to steal lead jammer status in a late jam against Rock Candy, Minnesota could only get a single point out of it, moving the score to Detroit 88, Minnesota 72. With about four minutes left in the game, Minnesota’s last hope was a couple of big jams — and while there was a momentary chance when Minnesota’s Desi Cration picked up lead jammer on the following jam, she immediately lost it by getting sent to the box on a fourth minor, smothering the last gasp for the Minnesota ladies. In the end, Minnesota had almost no offensive output in the third period, held to a mere 11 points, and Detroit scored the second huge upset of the day, 99-77.
Detroit earns a berth in September’s national tournament in Austin, and will face Gotham in a semifinal game on Sunday at 1:30pm. The winner of that game will battle either Windy City or Carolina in the Heartland Havoc championship game.
(t5) Gotham 139, (t4) Philly 81
In a long-awaited battle for Northeast derby supremacy, 5 seed Gotham took down 4 seed Philly by a convincing score of 139 to 81, earning themselves a trip to Austin for nationals and establishing themselves as a serious contender to win the Heartland Havoc on Sunday.
Throughout the first period, both teams seemed to follow a strategy of almost always calling off jams after the first scoring pass, which had the effect of squeezing 14 jams into the 20 minutes. Philly took the lead at first, getting lead jammer on the first three jams and opening up a 13-5 lead. Things slowly but surely turned Gotham’s way in the period, though, with Cheap Skate picking up 9-3 jam over Mo Pain with about 10 minutes left to play in the period and giving Gotham their first lead of the game at 27-22. The lead grew to 31-22 as Suzy Hotrod claimed lead jammer and shut out Teflon Donna on a 4-0 jam, and while the teams continued trading jam wins, Gotham was usually able to win their jams by slightly more. On the final jam of the period, Gotham’s Suzy Hotrod truly showed her speed, managing to score a grand slam on Philly’s Mo Pain even though the jam started with only about 45 seconds left on the clock. The period ended at Gotham 49, Philly 35.
Gotham started to establish control of the game in the first few jams of the second period, going on a 24-7 run that ended with Bonnie Thunders running up a 7-0 jam on Philly’s Violet Temper, who was sent to the box midway through the jam. With the score 72-42 at that point, Gotham seemed to have gained confidence and it showed in a bit of Gotham levity, when a Philly timeout led turned into an impromptu Violent Femmes dance party for the Gotham girls and their fans while the Philly girls caucused intently at their bench. Despite the strategizing, Philly couldn’t get anything going offensively — and, just as problematically, couldn’t keep the Gotham jammers from claiming lead. Gotham took lead jammer on the last four jams of the period and won all of them, extending the New York lead to 94-60 as the period closed.
Philly managed to control the lead jammer battle for the majority of the final period, but the Gotham jammers were always bursting out of the pack right behind them, keeping Philly from putting up any significant margins on their wins. In fact, the Gotham jammers were always so close to the Philly jammers that Philly only won 1 of the 8 jams in which they took lead jammer, with all the rest ending in ties or wins for Gotham. Gotham’s imposing blocker Beyonslay was a major factor in that, repeatedly acting as a one-woman wall against Philly jammers who simply couldn’t find a way around her size and seemingly effortless lateral motion. Philly had one shining moment about halfway through the period when blockers Roxy Rockett and Vixen Van Go-Go teamed up to make life very difficult for Gotham jammer Beatrix Slaughter, keeping her locked up or on the floor long enough for Philly jammer Violet Temper to score a grand slam on Slaughter and pick up a 5-0 jam. That moved the score to Gotham 110, Philly 75, but Philly then found themselves shut out on the four following jams. In the end, Gotham moved on to the tournament’s final day with a decisive 139-81 win in the third seeding upset in a row.
At 1:30pm on Sunday, Gotham goes up against the surprising Detroit Derby Girls in a semifinal that will determine who lands in the Heartland Havoc championship game.
(t3) Carolina 98, (t6) Providence 55
The final game of Heartland Havoc’s second round turned out to be the only outcome that the seeding would have predicted, with the third-seeded Carolina Roller Girls defeating sixth-seeded Providence in a highly defensive game, 98 to 55.
The first period was an extremely strategic affair, with both teams repeatedly using lead jammer status to call jams at 0-0 rather than attempting to put points on the board. Through the first three jams, there was only one point scored — by Carolina’s Zella Lugosi over Providence’s Dolly Rocket. On the fourth jam, Carolina’s deceivingly diminutive jammer Princess America decked her opposing jammer Baby Fighterfly on their approach to the pack, and used the time she gained to pick up 3 points before calling the jam off. Still, though, eight jams and ten minutes into the period, the score stood at a shockingly low Carolina 5, Providence 1. It was at about this point that Providence started using a unique strategy, with their jammers slowing down and attempting to block the Carolina jammers out of bounds before they could reach the pack — unfortunately for Providence, the Carolina jammers were consistently able to sneak around them and claim lead jammer. Carolina finally began to accelerate in the second half of the period, though, going on a 21-2 run that gave Carolina a solid lead at 22-3. Over the last three jams of the period, each team scored 7 points, ending the period with the score Carolina 33, Providence 10.
Providence managed to put together more offense in the second period, but Carolina was right there with them, refusing to let Providence narrow the gap. On the fifth jam of the period, Providence pivot Dolly Rocket seemed to have Princess America’s number, leveling the Carolina jammer almost every time she entered the pack, but Providence couldn’t turn it into a victory, with Providence lead jammer Dasilva Bullet only able to score 2 points to Princess America’s 2. That put the score at Carolina 62, Providence 19. Princess America would get her revenge three jams later though, getting lead jammer by beating pivot Dolly on an impressive fake-out that left Dolly lunging at air. On the last three jams of the period, Carolina put up 12 points to zero for Providence, putting the score at Carolina 76, Providence 28 going into the final period.
That final period bore some resemblance to the first, with many jams ending 0-0 — of course, with the score so lopsided, a 0-0 jam was a much better outcome for Carolina than for Providence. Through the first four jams of the period, Carolina only collected 3 points to 1 for Providence. Providence looked to get something going just after that, though, with Providence jammer DaSilva Bullet taking advantage of some wickedly effective blocking from pivot Dolly Rocket to put up a 5-0 grand slam jam over Zella Lugosi. That was soon followed up by a Dolly Rocket jam that proved to be the most lopsided of the whole bout — with Princess America in the penalty box, Dolly went nearly the full two minutes in scoring a 12-0 jam, nearly doubling Providence’s offensive output in the period and putting the score at Carolina 87, Providence 47. That would be the last big moment for Providence, though, and the scoreboard showed a 98-55 victory for the Carolina girls at the end of the night.
Carolina will face Windy City at 11am on Sunday, with the winner heading to a same-day championship match against either Gotham or Detroit.