PORTLAND, OR — In a back and forth game that was almost completely decided by an enormous pileup of untimely jammer penalties on both teams, 6W Rat City delivered the first and only upset of Friday’s opening action with a 139-128 win over 3W Denver. The win eliminated Denver from contention in the Championships tournament they’ll hold in early November.
As in most of the games of the opening day, both teams were extremely eager to rush the jammer line and take the rearmost legal position possible before jams started. The lead flipped twice over the first two jams, with Ann R. Kissed winning the first for Rat City 2-0 and Teresa Rusk taking the second 4-0; Denver looked ready to take a significant lead on the next when Julie Adams got lead and a quick 5 while Ann R. Kissed was locked up behind Vicky Cruz, Tracy Akers and Deirdre Sage, but Adams was boxed during the scoring pass. It still ended up being a 8-0 for Denver as Ann was unable to get out until the last moments of the jam, and Denver was up 12-2 after five minutes.
With the score 20-7 Denver after nine minutes, Rat City had an opportunity in a Ann R. Kissed vs Krystal Sprouse jam with a 4-2 Rat City pack, but Ann was just a hair too late in calling it, leading to a 4-4 jam. Penalty trouble continued for Denver, as they almost always found themselves with fewer blockers than Rat City, and Rat finally capitalized at about the 15 minute mark, going up 29-26 on the back of a 15-0 powerjam to Carmen Getsome. That lead only lasted a jam, though, as Julie Adams busted out of the box for a 4-0 that put Denver up again 30-29 with 14:12 left in the half.
After a 0-0, Rat City’s Re-Animateher and Denver’s Teresa Rusk both managed to commit cut track majors during a full-length jam that didn’t change the margin at all, 35-34 with 10:30 left in the first half. Both team’s jammers were also boxed in the followup, with Krystal Sprouse getting the better of a 12-6 against Carmen Getsome and making it 47-40 with 7:55 showing at an official timeout.
Denver blocker Susie Long had some key blocks that kept Rat City from landing a lopsided score on the followup powerjam, but the 8-0 for Juliet Bravo did barely flip the lead, with Rat City up by a point, 48-47, with 4 minutes in the half. Once again, though, it was Denver’s Julie Adams putting paid to the Rat lead with a 4-0. With 2:34 in the half, it was 51-48 Denver; they’d hang on to the small lead to be up 55-51 at the break.
The first ten minutes of the second half were almost all powerjams, as both teams seemed incapable of keeping their jammers out of the box for more than a single jam. It only took two jams for Rat City to retake the lead in the second half, yet again at one point at 63-62. It looked like Rat City would be able to add some to the lead when Heather Juska cut track in the opening jammer-line scrum, Kamikaze Kim had a very hard time with Denver blocker Tracy Akers and finally cut track herself. Once again, the Rat City lead would only last one jam as Juska busted out of the box for a 5-0.
Juska stayed on the track for the followup powerjam, but pulled a fourth minor and handed the powerjam back to Kim; again, though, Kim could not solve tough Denver D led by Monica Carson, Susie Long and Vicky Cruz, and the jam ended at 0-0. After a complicated series of powerjams ended four jams later, Denver held a precarious 77-72 lead with 18 minutes in the game.
Next up, Denver blocker November James had some excellent one-on-one blocking on Rat’s jammer Ann R. Kissed that let Teresa Rusk win a 3-2 jam even though Ann had lead jammer, and Rat City called their first timeout at 80-74 Denver with 16:45 in the game.
Rat City would take the lead two jams later after a jammer-on-jammer fourth minor on Denver’s Heather Juska allowed Rat to go up 82-80 with 13 minutes remaining. Denver would never retake the lead, but they were just one jam away for the rest of the bout. Carmen Getsome was just a hair late calling off the next jam, switching a 5-0 to a 5-3 for Rat and making it 87-83 with 12 minutes to go. Two jams later, yet another fourth minor on a Denver jammer — this time Rusk — gave the floor to Ann R. Kissed, and Rat City held their largest lead of the game at 95-83 as the clock ticked into the last ten minutes.
Denver’s penalty woes continued, as only November James and Tracy Akers were on the track to try and stop Juliet Bravo next, but Denver got a desperately needed break when Bravo was boxed herself; a big jam for Teresa Rusk out of the box made it 109-103 with 8 minutes left. A grand slam for Heather Juska made it a one point game yet again, 109-108 Rat City with 6:30 to play.
It was 113-108 Rat with 5:35 to play when Rat City dropped a key jam, with Hard Cora and Sirius Mischief locking up Krystal Sprouse while Ann R. Kissed put up 15-0; Denver found themselves on the ropes, down by their largest margin at 127-108 with 4:02. Denver called timeout there.
The next jam looked like it would be the nail in the coffin, as Denver jammer Heather Juska went to the box early on jammer-on-jammer contact — but, inevitably, Rat City’s jammer joined her and Juska was freed again. After a chaotic jam that riled up the crowd, Denver cut a little bit off the lead to make it 136-118 with 1:44 left on the clock.
It was Krystal Sprouse getting lead almost instantly on the next jam, needing 18 points to tie. Ann R. Kissed was solidly tied up, but Sprouse only got one lap before getting sent to the box on a fourth minor for skating out of bounds — and Ann R. Kissed wisely stayed far away from the Denver blockers for the rest of the jam to run out the clock, giving Rat City the win, 139-123.
Rat City advances to the semifinals and will take on Rocky Mountain tomorrow at 1pm.