Charm City Survives Rat City, 122-119
FEASTERVILLE, PA -- A chaotic, penalty-ridden bout that featured a 10 minute stoppage for a first-half power outage, a massive second-half comeback for Charm City and an immensely controversial last jam ended with Charm City barely escaping a contentious kickoff to the 2009 ECE.
Read the live play-by-play in the archived text boutcast from livebloggers Gnosis, Frenzy Lohan, Xena Paradox and Justice Feelgood Marshall. Full live coverage of the 2009
ECE was made possible by sponsors Atom Wheels, Rollercon 2009 and Five on Five Magazine.
It was all Rat City in the opening ten minutes, as Charm City was blanked on the first 6 jams while Rat City ran up a 24-0 lead. The Baltimore girls got an extremely unexpected break on the seventh jam, though, when thunderstorms killed the power in the Sportsplex and the venue went pitch dark for about 10 minutes. It had the effect of giving Charm City an early halftime to work out their adjustments, and they managed to keep things fairly even in the last 20 minutes of the opening period, closing the half at Rat City 67, Charm City 33.
While Charm City had spent the first half in a lot of penalty trouble that had given Rat City big pack-strength advantages, the situation was reversed in the first few jams of the second half. Both Lady Quebeaum and Joy Collision had opportunities for power jams against 4-1 packs early in the half, and LQ had a 15-3 while Joy dropped a 19-0, bringing Charm City charging back to a 73-70 deficit just 5 minutes into the half.
Rat City got their footing back here, holding to the lead for the next ten minutes, and there was a scary moment at about 17 minutes left to play when Rat City blocker Anya Heels leveled Charm lead jammer Bambi's Revenge with a huge front-of-pack hit that got Anya boxed but also ended the jam on a injury timeout, as a shaken Bambi took a few minutes to return to her feet.
That presaged the bout's first lead change, as the subsequent light pack, added to a jammer penalty on Rat City's Carmen Getsome, allowed Flo Shizzle to roll to a 15-0 over the boxed Carmen. The score was then 96-87 for Charm City with 14:45 to play, and Anya Heels was ejected from the bout on that jam, as she picked up a fifth box trip with a major trip on Flo.
While Charm City had momentum at that point, the lead wasn't safe. It was 107-91 Charm City with about nine minutes to play when a ugly series of jammer penalties on both teams would mean that neither team would be able to keep a jammer on the track for the entirety of any of the bout's final four jams.
First off, Rat City was on the right side of the revolving penalty box situation -- Charm was reduced to 2 blockers on the track with the queue backing up and jammer Bambi's Revenge also boxed. This allowed Hideous Braxely to run up a 14-0 jam ... only to end the jam in the increasingly popular penalty box.
With the score 107-105, it looked like Charm was in very serious trouble when their next jammer, Lady Quebeaum, hit the box on her opening pass, freeing Braxley early -- but Charm City killed the penalty very effectively with the help of a spectacular domino-effect block from Joy Collision, who knocked down a single Rat City blocker who ended up taking down every other Rat City player with her in a pileup. Braxley could not get through the pack before Quebeaum returned, and that jam ended with Braxley yet again in the box and Charm City escaping the situation with a slightly increased lead, 110-105, and 3:50 left to play.
Braxley's trip to the box had been her fifth, and so she was replaced in the box by Wile E. Peyote after a long referee timeout, long enough for the inexhaustible Lady Quebeaum to return to the jam line ... and yet again, a jammer penalty swung the momentum. Quebeaum hit the box on a major track cut, and the fresh legs of Wile E. put up a 10-0 for Rat City and put the Seattle team in the lead 115-110 with only 1:18 left to play -- and Quebeaum still in the box as the jam ended.
Going into the last jam, it looked like it was all over for Charm City, as Quebeaum had to watch from the box as Rat City's Juliet Bravo picked up lead jammer on a 3-3 pack, and only had to run out the clock before calling the jam. Bravo picked up 4, and Lady Quebeaum charged out of the penalty box quickly to pick up her opening pass and 4 of her own -- but Bravo decided to pour on the gas and try for a second pass instead of going to jammer defense, and it proved to be a fatal error as she back-blocked her way to the penalty box and lost the opportunity to call off the jam.
When Bravo hit the box, the score was 119-114 and Quebeaum quickly tied the bout with another scoring pass at 119-119. With the period clock expired and Bravo in the box, Quebeaum only had to score one more point to win the bout for Charm -- and on her next scoring pass, Rat City blocker Summer Assault blocked Quebeaum into the infield and then immediately slammed on the brakes, hoping to force LQ into a track cut that might get Bravo back out of the box.
Quebeaum wouldn't bite, and stopped dead on the infield, waiting for Summer to skate past so she could re-enter legally -- but all of Rat City saw what Summer was trying to do, and came to a dead stop themselves. There were a few excruciatingly long moments with the crowd losing its mind and not a single skater on the track moving at all -- and then, in a last-ditch maneuver, Charm City blocker Dolly Rocket skated clockwise back to Summer Assault and pushed her out of bounds.
The egregious push was met with an immediate game expulsion for Dolly, but it was enough to allow Quebeaum to legally re-enter -- and moments later, jam time expired and Charm City's points -- 3 -- were added to the score. The jam ended with a game winning 12-3 for Lady Quebeaum, and Charm City escaped a controversial thriller, having made two implausible comebacks to score a heart-pounding victory.
Charm City moved to 9-2 on the year with the win (and improved to 10-2 by beating Detroit the following night); they're soon in action in an away game against Kansas City on July 11. Rat City is playing one weekend later, taking on another East Coast stalwart when they host Carolina on July 18.