Paced by an explosive offense, a bone-crushing defense and disciplined play, the GateKeepers won the 2015 Men’s Roller Derby Association (MRDA) championship with a 188-121 victory Sunday night over three-time defending kingpin Your Mom Men’s Derby (Des Moines, IA) at “River City Rumble,” the governing body’s post-season tournament held at Midwest Sport Hockey at Queeny Park.
St. Louis, seeded second in the ten-team tourney, had twice finished runner-up in the annual trophy tilt, both times to Your Mom, who entered Sunday’s gold medal game with a 32-game MRDA-sanctioned winning streak.
Third time was a charm.
“I can’t believe it, honestly,” said GateKeepers co-captain Magnum P.I.M.P., who picked up the tourney’s MVP Jammer award. “We just came out and attacked. We had a game plan and we stuck with it. I can’t believe we won because Des Moines is a hell of a squad, top to bottom. I just feel really lucky. It was a lot of work just getting here and it’s all worth it.”
“I don’t have words,” added GKRD co-captain Percy Controll. “We’ve worked so hard for so long. We deserve this.”
The raucous crowd of 800 at Queeny Park witnessed the culmination of a three-game tourney sweep that resulted in the GateKeepers’ first-ever international title.
“I’m really stoked,” said St. Louis blocker Double Excel. “All the support that came through for us and the cheering and the fans, it was truly a factor. We wanted to win it for them just as much as we wanted to win it for ourselves. They’ve been through thick and thin with us and we just couldn’t be happier than to bring home the cup in front of them.”
The GateKeepers were only behind on the scoreboard once in the gold medal game.
Trailing 10-3 after two jams, St. Louis jammer Debaucherous Prime utilized a 14-point power jam to push the GateKeepers in front, 17-10 with 25:15 remaining in the first period. Screecharound followed with a pair of points and Magnum polished off the 20-0 run with a four-pointer to push the lead to 23-10 at the 23:20 mark.
Your Mom slashed at the deficit in jam 6 with a power jam from Frank Not SoHotra. A 10-point tally ensued and Des Moines tightened the score to 23-20 with 21:50 left in the period.
A 9-5 GateKeepers’ jam paced by The Saint resulted in 32-25 edge for the locals and Handrail followed with a seven-point strike at the 17:50 mark to push the St. Louis lead back to double digits, 39-25.
After YMMD’s Rollomite stopped the surge with a four-point tally, GKRD collected twenty points uncontested. Shane Bower’s seven in jam 10 was followed by Prime’s 13-point power jam on the next rotation and St. Louis extended the score to a 2-to-1 ratio, 59-29 with 11:45 left in the half.
The differential remained steady as the period progressed and St. Louis maintained a 75-47 lead with 2:20 left in the period.
Your Mom’s Not SoHotra collected nine in the period’s penultimate jam to whittle the score to 75-56. Bower countered with a period ending four-pointer to give the GateKeepers a 79-56 lead at intermission.
Des Moines collected the first strike of the second period and a four-pointer from Rollomite ensued but St. Louis’ Bower notched a 16-7 tally on the next rotation to help the GateKeepers push the score to 95-66 at the 27:00 mark.
Your Mom capitalized on a GateKeeper jammer penalty with Rollomite picking up a 10-point power jam to cut the deficit to 95-76. YMMD reciprocated and handed St. Louis a power jam on the next rotation. Prime posted five and St. Louis extended the score to 100-76 with 24:15 left in the game. The GateKeepers pushed the score to 113-77 at the 20:00 mark.
Momentum shifted back to the GateKeepers on the next rotation via the power jam and P.I.M.P posted 15 points to give St. Louis a 132-95 advantage with 15:30 left.
This began a 54-4 stretch run over the next eight minutes as the GKRD blocking battalion of Percy Controll, Bled Zeppelin, Inquadable Hulk, Monster Jam, Kyle Stark, Double Excel, Spin Diesel, Wrecking Bill and The Saint put the lock down on Des Moines offensively.
St. Louis sent a massive blow to Your Mom with 11:20 left as a YMMD jammer penalty resulted in a 24-point power jam from Bower that extended the GateKeepers lead to sixty points, 159-99, with 11:20 remaining. Prime followed with 14 on the next rotation to widen the score to 173-99 with 8:20 left.
Utilizing a 11-6 advantage in power jams for the game, St. Louis outscored YMMD, 109-65 in the second period, en route to the 188-121 MRDA title win and finish the season 14-1.
“Utter elation,” said GKRD blocker Wrecking Bill. “We won this as a team, there were no individuals. I couldn’t be happier.”
“This was five years in the making,” added St. Louis blocker Inquadable Hulk. “For this time to finally come, I can’t even believe it.”
“I felt that this year we brought forth one of the strongest teams that St. Louis has ever fielded,” assessed Debaucherous Prime, who finished with 62 points in the title game. “You just look around the locker room and there 19 other guys that you are out there playing your heart out for. And they’re doing their best for you. It’s a nice sense of unity and it’s really easy to go out there and play your guts out and know that these guys have your back.”
One gets the sense that that unity in the locker room now has reached monumental proportions.
A giant, shiny trophy just makes the joint look a little prettier.
STL GATEKEEPERS (188): Shane Bower 63, Debaucherous Prime 62, Magnum P.I.M.P. 40, The Saint 9, Screecharound 7
For more information on GateKeepers Roller Derby, go to stlgatekeepers.com.