Skate Odyssey: Helsinki Decapitates Windsor, 304-153


GENT, BELGIUM–The second European WFTDA started early on Friday morning in front of a sparse crowd, filtering into the arena slowly. As caffeine levels increased the crowd intensity went up–and a raucous finish saw eighth seed Helsinki take a comfortable win over ninth seed Royal Windsor 304-153.

A solid front wall combined with just enough offence across the first few jams let Helsinki push into a narrow lead, but Windsor’s rapid disengagement from the action managed to limit the damage despite a consistent run of lead jam calls for Helsinki across the first five minutes.

A forearm major on Riley Cyrus in jam 5 saw Helsinki’s Heli Runteli blow the Finns into a 36-1 lead. Mirkkuli made it 6/6 lead jam calls when she lined up next time out with Cyrus still boxed–but was forced into a call after 8 as Cyrus blasted out of the box and swiftly pushed the Helsinki front wall out of play.

Two jams later Helsinki’s pack frustrated Culverhouse into the box on her scoring pass; by the time that powerjam expired Mirkulli had made it 10/10 lead jam calls for Helsinki, with the scoreboard reading 86-5.

Helsinki had broken the century mark before Windsor got their first lead call on a powerjam. Vix made it two in a row on a second consecutive powerjams to make it 115-40 with 11:41 on the clock.

A mess then followed that saw four more jammer penalties assessed, but that made little change to the score. Duelling powerjams closed out the half across multiple jams; Helsinki finished the half with a 179-69 lead.

A 3-0 without lead opened the second period for Helsinki, followed by another game of jammer musical chairs–but the only result of that was the half-time gap being restored. As jam starts retreated towards the familiar territory of the jammer line after a pivot line heavy first start Windsor began to edge themselves back in–but not nearly fast enough to make a serious dent in the Helsinki lead, and soon the margin was at 110 points again.

For much of the second half Helsinki were just focussing on racing pack speeds to counter Windsor’s disengagement offence, limit scoring and kill clock. As the period drew on scoreboard pressure started to really tell on Windsor as their hunt for points became ever-more-desperate and the penalties started to rack up.

A lovely skip past a Helsinki wall off the jam line from Siouxsie Sutures with seconds left gave the Windsor contingent in the crowd something to cheer about–but it was the Finnish cheering section who were making all the noise at the death. Helsinki’s All-Star Ninja Turtles finished the bout 304-153 winners.
Helsinki remain in the main bracket and will play Stockholm in the third quarterfinal at 6p.m. CEST today; Windsor progress to the consolation rounds tomorrow.

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