(2) Denver Defeats (9) Rocky Mountain, 169-145
BROOMFIELD, CO -- The first ever regular season meeting between Denver, Colorado's two powerhouse leagues was a hard-hitting, penalty-laden game largely dominated by the girls in glitter and blue. Denver led Rocky Mountain for the entire bout and was up by as much as 87 points before a Rocky Mountain rally fell short, with Denver winning by 24 points at 169-145.
A game-opening powerjam by Heather Juska gave Denver a 15-0 lead when opposing jammer Urrk'n Jerk'n was sent to the box for a track cut. Allowing Rocky Mountain just four lead jammers in the first 15 jams, Denver opened up an early 66-29 lead. However, a 9-0 by Urrk'n Jerk'n and a 13-0 powerjam by Casstrator quickly pulled 5280 Fight Club back into contention at 66-51.
Unfortunately for the ladies in red and black, the rest of the half was dominated by Denver, who stretched the lead to 88-55 thanks to a series of Urrk'n Jerk'n jammer penalties. At the half, Denver enjoyed a 14-6 advantage in lead-jammer calls and an 8-3 advantage in powerjams while Rocky Mountain actually outscored Denver 37-28 in jams in which both jammers stayed on the track throughout.
The second half began much like the first half had ended with Denver extending their lead to 117-63 as their jammers were often the only ones on the track. Throughout the game, Denver's strategy of calling off powerjams before the Rocky Mountain jammer's minute in the box had elapsed led to frequent two-for-one scenarios in which Denver would start the subsequent jam unopposed at the jammer line. Denver stuck with a solid four-jammer rotation (Juska, Sharpless, Rangeon, and Adams) against Rocky Mountain's less structured approach -- RMRG sent 7 different jammers to the line through the game -- and Denver continued to stretch their lead throughout the second half, eventually pulling ahead by 87 points, 166-79.
Rocky Mountain took advantage of a series of powerjams of their own in the closing minutes, including a two-minute box trip for Sandrine Rangeon (who was ejected for intentionally contacting a ref) and outscored Denver 66-3 the rest of the way. Needing a powerjam gift a la Windy City (vs. Rose City) or St. Louis (vs. NYSE) to overcome a 169-145 deficit in the final jam, Rocky Mountain's Urrk'n Jerk'n faced off against sparingly-used Julie Adams. But Adams would not oblige and it was Urrk'n Jerk'n who was sent to the box, putting an end to Rocky Mountain's comeback. The jam ended at 0-0 as Denver skated away to what looks likely to be a #2 seeding for the Western Regional tournament.
Denver outscored Rocky Mountain just 56-50 in natural jams as each team scored roughly two-thirds of their points on jams that included a box trip for at least one jammer.
Both teams' next game is against Kansas City, who comes to town on the first weekend of June; Rocky Mountain plays KC on June 2 while Denver gets them on June 3.