Ohio Powers Past Steel City, 216-191
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Ohio Powers Past Steel City, 216-191

It is fitting that the Ohio Roller Girls’ last regular bout of the season was on Labor Day weekend, because the 216 – 191 victory over Steel City’s (Pittsburgh) Steel Hurtin’ was a laborious battle from start to finish.

Ohio’s special team play made the difference in a bout that seemed at first to be going Steel City’s way. Steel Hurtin’ won lead jammer on the first six jams of the bout and jumped out to a 20-0 lead, but an aggressive style of play led to 41 penalties for Steel City. Ohio took advantage, scoring 189 of their 216 points with Steel City jammers sitting on the penalty bench, over 100 points more than Steel City managed on their power jams.

It wasn’t just offensive power that won the game; the penalty kill was just as destructive. The best example of Ohio’s domination on penalty kills happened with 22 minutes left in the first half when The Smacktivist was sent to the box and Ohio’s defense, led by Lora “Outa My” Wayman and Amy Spears, kept Steel City’s superstar jammer ‘Snot Rocket Science from breaking out the pack for the full thirty second penalty time. ‘Snot was sent to the box herself after a back block of frustration and Mack celebrated their return to the track by cruising through the pack en route to nine points.

The Ohio defense continued to show its readiness for the upcoming playoffs, trapping the Steel City jammers in corners while simultaneously opening holes for their own. With 28 minutes left in the second half Ohio blocker Ena Flash slammed closed the inside lane just as it appeared ‘Snot was about to take an early lead on the jam. Two minutes later, Mack cleared the pack to take lead thanks to a gaping hole opened on the inside lane by Wayman, then found the outside lane wide open after a crushing down-block by Jesse “Ava Tarr” Fox. The jam increased a slim lead to a more comfortable 40-point margin.

No lead in this chaotic battle was truly comfortable, though. Steel City got back within one point ten minutes later and would have taken the lead had it not been for the huge hole in the middle of the Steel City wall opened by Spears and Burnadeath which allowed Ohio jammer TactiGal to escape the pack and fly around the track so fast that Steel Hurtin’ jammer River KYX had no choice but to call off the jam after gaining only one point. Two jams later Mack scored 28 points on a power jam that increased Ohio’s lead to 174-152. The closest Steel City ever got again was the final 216-191 margin.

Despite preseason forecasts of doom and gloom following the retirement of key players from last season’s team, #20 Ohio sits two spots higher in the world rankings than at this time last year. With the playoffs set to start on September 19th, Ohio seems primed and ready to make another deep run.

Pictures courtesy of Dorn Byg. (full set)