Track Queens Semifinal: Berlin Edges Out Stockholm, 185-181

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BERLIN, GERMANY–Bout four of day two of Track Queens saw the hosts playing again after narrowly escaping a massive upset against Gent last night. A nearly full-house greeted the home team rapturously–but that was nothing compared the noise they made as Berlin snatched a last-jam win from the jaws of defeat. They triumphed 185-181 after making up a 10-point deficit in the final jam, and progress to tomorrow’s final against London.

It was Stockholm’s Mad Maloony who, for the second jam in a row, got the first lead call and points of the bout with a 1-0 over Master Blaster. Resident Shevil took her first jam of the weekend–she got lead, and her day got swiftly better when Juana Loca back blocked her way to the box.

She had given Berlin a 25-1 lead before Juana stood, and Master Blaster got lead unopposed to leave the Bombshells with a 35-1 lead five minutes in.

A low-scoring high-speed ten minutes made little difference to the margin before jam nine saw Swede Hurt sit on Resident Shevil for much of the two minutes to allow Polygamy Winehouse to rack up a 14-0 to make it 43-23.

Stockholm had put four more on the board by the time an official time-out put Juana La Loca in the box–and 10 for Meow made it 53-27 with 12:42 remaining in the period.

Five low-scoring minutes later Juana La Loca had a chance to bring the game back Stockholm’s way as Meow was boxed–but she passed the star to Swede Hurt who put up 29 unanswered points to make it 58-56 with five minutes to go.

Heavy Rotation held up Polygamy for almost a full minute as Master Blaster put up a 10-0 to give the Bombshells a little breathing room–but pack tussles cost Berlin two blockers in the jam.

An official time-out then saw Berlin’s Ethyl Trash ejected for gross misconduct for blocking a downed skater in the previous jam. Meow made light of that 4-2 pack to get lead, but Master Blaster wasn’t so fortunate in the following jam.

She was boxed fighting with the full Stockholm pack to give Juana La Loca a powerjam. This time Juana did take it herself, and gave Stockholm their first lead of the game–71-68 with under two minutes in the period.

Berlin kept their box full and Maloony extended the Stockholm with a 9-0. The final jam of the half was the first in some time to start with more than two Berlin blockers in play. Polygamy Winehouse was then boxed as she fought with the Berlin three wall with Meow lapping, but Kix Deville, Becky Lawless and Musfallen Mary defended heroically to keep Stockholm in front. Their hard work was further rewarded when they saw Meow head to the box on a high block call just as the half ended 80-73 to Stockholm.

Unconventionally the second half started with what seemed to be roughly a minute of non-skating jam–but an official timeout followed, which gave the Arena Berlin an opportunity to sing Happy Birthday to Stockholm’s Polygamy Winehouse as the officials tried to resolve what on earth was going on.

That time-out resulted in things being reset, and at the second attempt the second half began properly. Maloony wasted no time putting up 25 points with Meow in the box–then put up five more when Meow was sent back after Swede Hurt forced a major cut just as Meow was about to complete her initial pass.

Juana La Loca finished the powerjam off to give Stockholm a 117-73 lead with three minutes gone. A major cut in the next jam for Maloony let Master Blaster cut the deficit to 117-93 as Stockholm filled their half of the box to bursting. That jam was whistled dead as Swede Hurt went down hurt, and an official time-out followed with Swede conducting a heated debate with officials while clutching an ice pack to her face.

Nothing came of those protestations, though, and Resident Shevil took five more points off Stockholm’s lead as she finished off the powerjam.

Eight more Stockholm points across two jams were followed by a major cut on Maloony let Master Blaster make it 125-112 before the first five-on-five jam of the half saw Apocalypse Meow backblock her way to the box again.

Juana called it at 0-0 as Meow took her seat in the box after a bruising fight to get lead left her winded. Maloony took the star for that powerjam, and danced past Berlin’s lone blockers Heavy Rotation and Catherine Beat-Her-Bonez to put up 15 on the powerjam and 10 more with Meow on the track to take Stockholm into a 150-112 lead.

Master Blaster then had another powerjam as Polygamy Winehouse hit the box. While Maloony’s previous powerjam was a display of figure-skating poise, Master Blaster’s response was one of raw power: she put up 20 unanswered points, calling it with seconds remaining on the Stockholm jammer penalty.

Five single-digit jams for Master Blaster and Resident Shevil brought Berlin back within three points of Stockholm’s total as Berlin drastically shortened their jammer rotation.

Master Blaster then took the lead for Berlin as Elfi Kugelblitz flattened Juana La Loca–but four points for Juana at the death meant Stockholm ended the jam 155-154 in front with seven minutes to go.

Master Blaster looked to have given Berlin the lead when a smart hit from Kix Deville forced a major cut during Only’s first turn with the star for Stockholm. But Only backblocked her way to the box after Master was released.

That left Stockholm without a jammer but 170-157 in front with 3:20 on the clock. Resident Shevil struggled in the Stockholm pack and could only put up four.

Maloony and Master Blaster shared a 3-1 jam to make it 173-162 with 59 seconds on the clock. Resident Shevil got lead–but Maloony was right on her tail, and she was forced into a 1-0 call with 13 seconds left.

Master Blaster took the star against Maloony–on for the third jam in a row–in the final jam, and burst out for lead, but Maloony again got through just behind. The Berlin pack just couldn’t seem hold Maloony for long enough for Master Blaster to get the points differential she needed as they both scored–but when Maloony was boxed on a fourth minor Master Blaster made the game safe, and Berlin escaped with a 185-181 win.

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