NORTH RICHLAND HILLS, TX – Sunday morning’s second contest of the 2016 Men’s Roller Derby Association World Championships brought together the #1 seed St. Louis Gatekeepers and the #4 Bridgetown Menace of Portland, OR. Both teams brought some of the physically largest players in Men’s derby, and it made for one of the surprise games of the weekend with each squad upping the level of smart, defensive play.
The first half was full of quick scoring jams, and numerous lead changes, showing that the #4 team could hold strong with last year’s Champions. While Bridgetown was able to almost half the scoring by St. Louis compared to their meeting in April, they just couldn’t stop the grind that led to Gatekeepers winning 132-87.
The Gatekeepers’ Magnum P.I.M.P. opened up the game by grabbing lead status in the first jam, but lost the exchange to Bridgetown’s Munster who managed to pull three points to Magnum’s two at the call off. Shreddy Mercury took the star and lead status for Bridgetown next, and repeated his teammate’s three-point score while holding the Gatekeepers scoreless.
Shane Bower answered back for St. Louis however, and with a 7-point jam while the GateKeepers’ wall kept Freekstyle on full lock down, the first lead change of the game saw St. Louis up 9-6. Munster used his blinding speed through the tough packs of St. Louis and made two scoring passes for seven points total to retake the lead for Bridgetown 13-9.
Bridgetown held their tenuis lead for two more jams before Corey Porter took the star for the second time this match and take not only lead status, but also six points to retake the game lead 18-16 for the Gatekeepers.
The counter punching from the Bridgetown corner would continue with a four in a row run of lead statuses where Munster would first tie it up with a two-point run and Don Juan the Destroyer followed up with a 3-0 jam to bring the score up to 23-18 for Bridgetown. A nine point series by Corey Porter changed the lead one last time in GateKeeper’s favor, and while Bridgetown kept it close for the rest of the half, they did not regain it again.
Don Juan grabbed a fast lead status, but after getting reabsorbed by the pack, he accrued the first jammer penalty of the game with a forearm, and then he ended the jam with a second forearm, sending him back to the box. Despite multiple blocker penalties, the Bridgetown wall held onto Shane Bower for the full two minutes to close the jam 0-0.
However, Magnum came out to capitalize on the second penalty by Don Juan, and added 17 points in the first double digit jam of the game. Don Juan came out swinging to add four points to the Bridgetown score, but St. Louis led 44-28.
With about ten minutes left in the half, Corey Porter took the star for the Gatekeepers facing off against Munster who then left the track for a cut call, his only penalty of the game. To add insult to injury the Gatekeepers line was able to draw back and hold M Jensen as a goat, allowing Porter to grow the lead by 10 points to bring the score to 54-28.
As St. Louis began to solidify their lead, both teams settled into incredible blocking rhythms. The blocking pairs of Bled Zeppelin and Spin Diesel for the Gatekeepers and M Jenson and Luce Wheel for Bridgetown seemed to be locked into near-telepathic grooves respectively as they worked to shut down the opposing jammers.
The grind of solid defense appeared to be taking its toll late in the half as quite uncharacteristically, Magnum seemed to slow and was held by the braced two wall of Bridgetown up front.
The Portland crew continued to chip away at the developing score gap right to the end of the first half when Freakstyle grabbed lead with a slide over the back of Bled Zeppelin in turn two for lead status before grabbing points and calling it off to end the half 67-39 in favor of the Gatekeepers.
The second half showed a refreshed Magnum starting with the star and racking up a 14 point run that was finished off when he was hit to the inside and spun skate to skate along the line. He ultimate fell in bounds and called it before Shreddy Mercury could score for Bridgetown.
Munster answered back with a 14-0 jam for Portland to hold the score gap. Luce Wheel again stood out as a heads up player when he was able to hit out the jammer, but was aware that they only touched out of bounds with one hand. Rather than sprinting back he stood his ground and burned time while containing the jammer.
Just five minutes into the second half, St. Louis had put up two 14 point jams and grown their lead to 95-53.
Early in the half, Defensive Destroyer made a smart play when he pretended to receive a star pass and got Shreddy Mercury free of the pack after the GateKeepers earned lead status. Destroyer also forced the call off by running back to drive out Screecharound on the inside line, keeping him to three points.
Jam 10 showed how much of a blockers game this was when there were only 27 seconds left on the clock when Shreddy was able to clear the last blocker to get lead status. Rather than push for points he played it smart and called it to lock David Metcalf in the box and secure a power start for Bridgetown to follow.
The final jam of the game saw Magnum grab a fast lead while Don Juan was sent off for a track cut. Rather than risk a possible penalty Magnum hung to the back of the back and refused to engage Bridgetown’s blockers while he burned the final seconds off the clock to close it out 132-87 in favor of the Gatekeepers.
St. Louis moves on to face Your Mom Men’s Derby in the final game at 7pm CDT while Portland plays for 3rd place against Texas Men’s Roller Derby at 5pm CDT.
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