Northern Lights Win 2019 B-Cup Tournament!

On March 2, the Northern Lights B team made the first trip of the travel season to lovely Bloomington, Indiana for the two-day B-Cup Tournament hosted by our friends, Bleeding Heartland Roller Derby.

The team came in as the second seed. The tournament had a rigorous Day 1 schedule where the winners of each game played throughout the day towards the final game of the night. That game determined the gold and silver placing teams.

That meant each time the Lights won, they played their next game a mere two to three hours later, up to three games in one day. Wow! Yet, the Northern Lights held the first-place trophy victoriously in hand at the end of the night.

Northern Lights vs. Gem City, photo by Chris Baker

Northern Lights vs. Gem City: Tripods and offense

The first game of the day was against Ohio’s Gem City. Although our A teams played each other a few times last season, this was the first occasion the B teams squared off.

In the first two jams of the game the Lights put up two staggering 16 point jams against Gem’s total of 10, setting the tone for the rest of the game. Gem City found their strengths by having blockers take up space and sneaking their jammers through on the line, especially in the apex areas. They were also effective at taking advantage of the track space whenever the Light’s blocking formation got broken up.

The first half ended with the northern Lights on top, scoring 143 to Gem City’s 76. Both teams played a similar game in the second half for a final score of 298 for the Lights vs. 149 for Gem City.

The success of the Northern Lights came from a combination of steadfast tripods, which allowed one player to be free to play offense regularly, and the blocker crew’s relentless recycling and reforming around the opposing jammer. The tactical offense allowed our jammers to have 20 multi-pass jams, 14 of which were double-digit in total. Notably, Annaconda put up double-digit jams in six of her eight jams. She earned lead in every jam she played and was the top scorer at 95 total points. Yowza!

Jammer point totals: Annaconda: 95, Henni Bralwins: 92, Sassberry: 83, Alabama Slamma: 16

Pivot point totals: Hitlist: 12

Northern Lights vs. Brew City: Double overtime

A few hours later, the Lights played against Brew City from Milwaukee, a familiar “rival” both A and B teams have played many times over the years. Brew City is well known for their huge hits, proactive offense off the line, and strong blocking shapes.

As expected, this was a highly-competitive game with slim point margins that ended in a double overtime. Neat!

The first half of the game found multi jam runs flip flopping in favor of each team. In the first six jams, the Lights put up 37 points to Brew’s three points. In the next five jams, Brew City put up 24 points to the Lights’ two points. This type of back and forth continued all the way to a half time, when the score placed the Northern Lights narrowly ahead at 84 to Brew City’s 74. That’s a close score in the roller derby world.

The second period was a virtual tit for tat. Each team took turns scoring points in every other jam while shutting the other team out from scoring. However, in the 12th jam, the Lights would be shut out of scoring any points for a terrifying nine jams. That meant the lead the Lights held the entire game shifted by five points in Brew City’s favor.

Brew bolstered their lead up to a steady 13 points until the second-to-last jam. Lights jammer Sassberry scored eight points, putting her team a mere five points behind going into the final jam of the half. Henni jammed the last jam of the half. She was on her second scoring pass when she was knocked out of bounds and called the jam as the opposition was about to score. The crowd waited with anticipation as the final points were calculated. A roar went up when the scoreboard showed a tie.

A roller derby bout cannot end with a tie. One final jam must be played where there is no lead jammer, the jam cannot be called off, and the team with the most points wins.

As the first overtime jam started, Henni started in the box after acquiring a penalty in the last jam. It seemed the Brew City might take the game until their jammer committed a penalty and went to the box. The first overtime jam finished, the points were counted, the score went on the board; still a tie. ANOTHER OVERTIME JAM!

For this jam, Annaconda took the line. After putting up points and running into a tight wall, she passed the star to Katarina who put up the final score-tipping points. This exciting game ended with an explosion of cheers in honor of the very-seldom-seen double overtime game. The final score, Northern Lights’ 150 to Brew City’s 149.

Jammer point totals: Annaconda: 45, Sassberry: 43, Henni Brawlins: 29, Katarina Hit: 22

Pivot point totals: Katarina Hit: 11

Northern Lights vs. Cornfed Derby Dames: On to the trophy!

The final game of the night pitted the Northern Lights against Indiana’s Cornfed Derby Dames, who came in seeded lower than the Lights. This was the third game of the day for both teams and fatigue was setting in. It looked like it was going to be a competition of endurance.

Cornfed blockers worked hard to take up space on the track while their jammers executed tricky toe work on the lines. But the Northern Light’s blocking crew had the track firmly locked down. The first half ended with the Northern Lights in front, 133 to 25, and a well-deserved half time rest for both teams.

The second period continued on much like the first, with the Lights dominating the scoreboard. Since the Northern Lights maintained a comfortable lead, the bench took this opportunity to flip positions around. The pivots became starting jammers and jammers became pivots, giving players an opportunity to hone their skills.

The final score gave the gold trophy to the Northern Lights with 273, and the silver to Cornfed with 49.

Sassberry, photo by Chris Baker

Jammer point totals: Alabama Slamma: 68, Sassberry: 62, Henni Brawlins: 47, Katarina Hit: 48, Hitlist: 36, Giraffic Jam: 12

The Northern Lights scored a total of 721 in three games in one day, starting off the travel season with their first set of wins. Good luck to both teams in the bouts ahead! The A team will make their run for a second invite to the post-playoff season event, the Continental Cup.

Weekend jammer point totals: Sassbery: 188, Henni Brawlins: 168, Annaconda: 140, Alabama Slamma: 84, Katarina Hit: 81, Hitlist: 48, Giraffic Jam: 12