Skate Odyssey Third Place: Helsinki Finishes Leeds, 229-153

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GENT, BELGIUM–The third-place game saw the sixth and eighth seeded teams play off for third. The lower-ranked Helsinki posted an upset win to take third after a dominant performance in a bout they led from the second jam, 229-153.

A 1-0 jam for Chapman opened Leeds’ account, but Mirkkuli hit back at the earliest opportunity to put the All-Star Ninja Turtles back in front. She was already scoring when R.I.Punzel hit the box–and had made it 14-1 by the time she called it with 30 seconds still to run on RIP’s penalty.

A 10-0 for Heli Runteli finished off that powerjam–and Deadbeat Debbie made it 44-1 when Chapman was boxed instantly in jam 4. Chapman then returned to the box after entering too close to the front of pack as she prepared to race round to the back. A 4-2 pack advantage let Mirkkuli get lead–but her first pass was terminated by a track cut to let Chapman in. But just as she looked to complete her first scoring pass she hit the box for the third time in the first five jams on a cut.

Mirrkuli finished the jam with a forearm major to spring Chapman–and leave the score 59-5 with almost 9 minutes gone. Banshee then tried to ram home the advantage. She got a quick lead call before a forearm major of her own sent her to the box too.

Score-and-call jams for Helsinki held sway as they held the back of the pack before a couple of 0-0 jams briefly halted Helsinki’s gains. Runteli snuck through a tiny gap between the Leeds pack and the inside line on one skate to drop another 4-0 before Mirkkuli picked up a clockwise major when scoring to let Banshee in to finally push Leeds into double figures with 17 minutes gone.

Tigre Force, Sara Mack Eh? and Blocking Molly’s co-ordinated defence held her to 15, with Mirkkuli completing her previous pass on her exit from the box to make it 80-22.

Lead jam calls evened up as pack penalties did the same, and both teams put up hit-and quit jams before a 4-1 win for Banshee with Deadbeat Debbie lead brought the Leeds’ cheering section to their feet.

The lead hovered between 60 and 70 as the teams traded wins in a sequence of fast-moving jams–but those jams sent a constant stream of Leeds blockers to the box. Playing with short-handed packs eventually told on R.I.Punzel as she hit the box in the final two minutes of the half, letting Iris Suominen give Helsinki a 127-44 half-time lead.

Heli Runteli calmly made the margin 147-44 with some fine offense from her pack splitting the Leeds blockers up. She faked Leeds blockers out before juking in and bursting out for points–and then RIP cut her way back to the box as the jam expired. A star pass on her return finally ended RIP’s torment, and Chapman forced the call with Leeds now 171-44 behind.

Helsinki’s dynamic double-layer three-woman walls served them exceptionally well as they slowed and controlled the Leeds jammers at the back from the get-go. Their jammers all cashed in against Leeds’ generally isolated blockers with help from roving offence when their packs were full.

With ten minutes gone, Mirrkuli backblocked her way to the box and Banshee put up a double-digit jam to take Leeds total to 61. Chapman got lead unopposed but couldn’t score before she was forced into a call after being hit to the infield.

Helsinki breezed past 200 in much the same manner, with only very occasional Leeds lead jammer calls interrupting their relentless march towards victory until the clock ticked past ten minutes when a major cut was called on Runteli as she called a jam.

Chapman thundered through to make it 209-79 with 8 minutes left in the bout. Hydra Electric then made it 217-98 when Deadbeat Debbie backblocked her way to the box hustling for points. RIP fouled out with six minutes to go to reduce Leeds to a roster of 11, but Helsinki continued to struggle with jammer penatlies.

Runteli fell victim to a backblock call to let Banshee make it 225-121 with 2:18 left to skate. Yet another backblock call on a Helsinki jammer sent Debbie back to the box–but Skatewell Tart swiftly followed with the star for Leeds. But Debbie got a second backblock of the jam with less than a minute left on the period clock. Tart reduced the deficit to 99 before a forearm call on her sent her towards the box–but it was overruled before she could take a seat.

A time-out for Leeds with 14 seconds on the clock gave Chapman one last jam and a 3-2 pack advantage to work with. After staring out Blocking Molly on the line as the time-out expired she got a quick lead call and started to put the points up. A high block on Debbie sent her back to the box for a third time in very quick succession–and let Chapman end the bout unopposed.

She called it moments later, though–and Helsinki finished 229-153 winners to take third place.

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