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Chicago Invitational Day 1: Rocky Escapes Gotham, LA Crushes Windy

VILLA PARK, IL -- In the opening bout of the $10,000 Kitten Traxx Chicago Invitational, Rocky Mountain looked set to easily roll to a victory over Gotham on the banked track but found themselves getting into spiraling penalty trouble that saw 8 of their players foul out through the second half, leaving them with only 5 skaters by the last jam of the game. Rocky lost all of a 120-43 lead before Gotham tied the bout on the second to last jam of the game, but RMRG was handed a power jam and a full pack on the last jam to win by 3, 156-153.

By the end of the first quarter, Rocky Mountain was starting to build a solid lead on the back of strong jamming from DeRanged, who was far and away the ace of the RMRG jamming staff with 105 of Rocky's 156 points. She landed two 10-0 jams in the first quarter and helped Rocky to a 54-21 lead at the first break.

The second quarter was almost exactly the same story in point margin, and Rocky extended their lead to a first-half high of 62 points right before the half ended on a 4-0 to Gotham's Bonnie Thunders that made it 101-43 as the teams went to the locker rooms.

Rocky Mountain's lead peaked at 77 points with 9 minutes left in the third quarter, but that was when their penalty death spiral began. First off it was Psycho Babble and Ecko; Gotham's Bonnie Thunders picked up two 10-0 jams in the remainder of the third quarter that helped to shave 31 points off the Rocky lead, leaving it at a still solid 130-84 favoring Rocky with 15 minutes to play.

RMRG came into the final quarter strong with a 4-0 and 10-0 to DeRanged in the first three jams, but then DeRanged fouled out with the score 143-84 and 12 minutes left, and the game completely turned around there.

Four jams later, Rocky lost their second highest-scoring jammer when Triple Shot Misto (26 points) fouled out; it was 149-100 Rocky Mountain with 7:30 left. One jam later, Winona Fighter joined her in the locker room, and two jams after that, Amanda Jaminitya followed them. Meanwhile, Gotham was tearing through a 23-0 run powered by Wild Cherri and Bonnie Thunders, but still looked like they were going to run out of time with the score 149-123 favoring Rocky Mountain and only 3:30 left to play.

However, two epic jams from Wild Cherri were what Gotham needed to close the gap. She went 15-0 following AJ's ejection to make it 149-138 with 2:20 left. Rocky got their first points of the previous 5 jams when Fiona Grapple managed to get a 4-0, but after yet another RMRG ejection, this one to Catholic Cruel Girl, Wild Cherri had a powerjam and ran up another 15-0 to tie the game at 153-153 with 22 seconds remaining.

Unfortunately for Gotham, Wild Cherri had back-blocked during that second run, and Rocky started the last jam with a 4-3 pack advantage and a powerjam -- meaning all of their remaining players were out on the floor. Fiona Grapple patiently waited for her opening and called the jam as soon as she passed one Gotham skater on her scoring pass to pull victory from the jaws of defeat, 156-153.

In the second bout of the opening day, the banked track LA Derby Dolls had much less trouble continuing their own early rout of Windy City, jumping out to a 35-0 lead and going up by almost 100 points by the half on their way to a 209-78 final.

The games set up a Rocky Mountain vs LA prize bout on Saturday night, with $10,000 going to the winner and $3,000 to the loser. Gotham and Windy City play in the undercard with $1,000 on the line.