TORONTO, ON — The final first-round elimination game looked likely to be a very tight affair, with New Zealand and Germany both showing promise in the group rounds — and it proved to be one of the tightest contest of the World Cup so far. With multiple lead changes throughout the bout the game could have been anybody’s — but some tight defence from New Zealand at the death let them edge Germany out 143-127.
The first lead jammer status went to New Zealand’s Evil K-Neevil, who picked up a 9-2 frame as Germany’s jammer Public Enemy hit the box; fortunately for Germany, though, New Zealand’s jammer Fia Fase Oe? was boxed during her opening pass and Germany was able to win the second jam 5-0 to make it 9-7 New Zealand after two jams.
Two points for the Germans levelled the game at 9-9 with five minutes gone. Slasher then got lead against Purgatory — and that rapidly turned into a powerjam as Polly got herself boxed. Slasher got a quickfire ten points almost before Polly had sat down — but solid German defence meant it took the rest of the penalty time for Slasher to get her final pass in to make it 23-9.
A run of lead jams for New Zealand saw them stretch their lead to 30-9 over the next few jams. The Germans called a time-out to try and reverse their fortunes, and it had immeadiate impact when Polly Purgatory picked up the Germans first lead jam call in several, going 4-0 before being forced into a call. Mercedes Bends then continued Germany’s comeback, taking the scores to 30-21 with 19 minutes on the clock. In the next jam both Resident Shevil and Evil Kâ€™Neevil were boxed within seconds of each other, but the full two-minute jam had no difference on the overall margin as both teams picked up 4.
Mercedes then racked up 10 points to tie it up as the NZ jammer was trapped in a fearsome German wall–then stole four at the death after the NZ jammer escaped. That pushed Germany into a 39-34 lead with 14 minutes on the clock. New Zealand then used their first time out, and it reaped instant rewards when Axl-Slash-R picked up a powerjam as Resident Shevil was boxed after coming off worse in a tough fight with Terror Satana. The 13 points Axl picked up were enough to re-take the lead for New Zealand, 47-39.
After a tight couple of jams, Mercedes Had a powerjam that saw her team re-take the lead 54-50 — but it could have been much more had it not been for some clever reverse-goating from New Zealand that saw them trap a German blocker and drive her forward to increase the pack speed. New Zealand tied it up in the very next jam, and Miss Metal Militia thenÂ took the lead in the jam after when Public Enemy got boxed following another tough fight with the entire New Zealand pack who repeatedly knocked her down and out, taking the score to 63-54 with a little over five minutes left in the half. Four points for Fia Fasi Oe? were notched up in the following jam before Public Enemy escaped from the box.
Another NZ powerjam followed, but some phenomenal blocking by Noxious Angel kept Skate the Muss under control and scoreless–but both players were boxed at the death, giving Polly Purgatory a powerjam of her own with under two minutes in the half. Polly only managed to get 5 points in that jam, though, so the half ended 71-59 in favour of New Zealand.
A 14-point jam for Evil Kâ€™Neevil started the second half in similar fashion to the first as Resident Shevil got stuck in the pack. Polly pegged NZ back with four in the following jam despite a serious pack disadvantage. Resident Shevil exploded off the line to grab lead before turn one, and picked up four quick points to undo some of the damage from her first jam of the half taking the score to 85-67 New Zealand with four minutes gone in the half.
Fast packs kept scores down in the next few jams, but then Axl found herself in a powerjam — but was unable to take advantage of it as she was boxed for her own major back block to release Public Enemy.PE made very quick work of an almost non-existent pack to pick up 14 points to Axl’s five, taking the score to 101-88 New Zealand with a little over ten minutes gone in the half.
Fast packs and jammers trading penalties kept scores low — but the style suited the Germans more, who brought the game to within four points at 108-104 with Ellie Miniate and Resident Shevil working some fine defence at the front of the German pack. A fast 4-0 jam for Germany saw Public Enemy tie the game up at 108-108 with a little over ten minutes to go.
Terror Satana formed a one-woman wall at the back of the pack, though, letting her team edge into the lead 121-108, and a run of lead jam calls for New Zealand looked to be taking the game away from Germany, but when Axl was boxed Mercedes pulled the game back despite some front-wall defence from Hurricane Hori, leaving the game at 124-123 to New Zealand with 6 minutes on the clock.
Polly Purgatory grabbed four in the next jam to re-take the lead for Germany. When Public Enemy was boxed in the next jam for a high block, Fia Fasi Oe? put 10 on the board thanks to some great blocking by Pieces of Hate Â to give the game its sixth lead change and push her team to a lead of 134-127 with three minutes left.
A quickfire four-point jam extended the New Zealand lead to 11 as the clock hit the two minute mark. Axl then grabbed lead in the next jam for New Zealand and further extended the lead to 143-127 with a minute left in the bout. Terror Satana lined up for her very first jam of the bout against Mercedes–but when Mercedes grabbed lead she called it with 14 seconds left on the period clock when she saw that the pack speed wouldn’t let her get the points she needed. A German timeout provided one final jam — but both jammers broke the pack simultaneously with New Zealand’s Axl called lead, and she called it to wrap up a 143-127 victory.
New Zealand heads to the quarter-finals where they will have a rematch against Team USA, while Germany enters the placement rounds against Scotland.