Two minutes left and the score was tied.
It was David vs. Goliath; it was the chance for an upset; it was the first time in a long time – it was not meant to be.
With two minutes left, the Gold Pain Jammer was in the box.
“That last jam killed us,” Gold Pain skater Willow (Willowmeana) Eyford said.
“Our Jammer caught a penalty so we had no way of scoring points, so they just kept on getting grand slam after grand slam.”
It was a hard ending for Gold Pan Girls and fans alike, but the game was so closely contested it’s hard to see it as a loss.
“I think we played a fantastic game,” Eyford said.
Rewind nearly an hour and you have the short-handed Gold Pain Derby Girls, sanded down to nine skaters after jobs, injuries and new regulations for the team had their way, facing their Cariboo frienemies, Rated P.G.
Gold Pain started out on top, pushing ahead of P.G. for the first four jams. But then Gold Pain lost their footing and Rated P.G. rolled back into the game and into the lead.
“They got a few grand slams and that was a game changer for sure,” Eyford said.
By the end of the first half P.G. was up 62 to 47 and the Gold Pain Girls were themselves feeling the pain.
“We were playing very shorthanded – we didn’t even have two full lines – so people from the line that was just out had to stay so we got exhausted really quick,” Eyford said.
Turning the pain into gold, Quesnel wore away the lead point by bitter point and eventually the Gold Pain Girls were back in contention and then tied.
And everything was balanced on that cusp until the penalty, when it all crumbled with grand slam after grand slam going to P.G. for 130 – 105 win for the visitors.
Prince George has been a perennial nemesis for Quesnel and one that is not easily beat, so for the girls to have sat on that cusp, all while down five players, was something of a coup for the team. That measured not only by score, but by how the team is no longer relying on brute strength or frantic energy, but on skill and strategy.
“Our strategy is really coming together,” Eyford said.
“We’re not as frantic on the track as we used to be. I think that’s really helping.”
The event itself was equally a win for the Gold Pain Girls, as they brought in a good turnout and a new sponsor in the form of Barkerville Brewing, which is huge according to Eyford as they now have some good, local beer to serve at the bouts.
Also featured in the mid-game break was the Gold Nuggets – the junior Gold Pain team.
Not only is the growth of Derby bringing new and better players to the team, but it’s bringing in young girls who will grow up playing derby and bring new talent to the team as players come up through the ranks.
The Gold Pain Girls will play two away games, May 10 vs Terrace North Coast Nightmares and May 31 vs Kelowna Derby Dolls, before coming back home to take on the Terrace North Coast Nightmares June 28 and finishing off their season July 18 against the Kamloops Tournament City Wreckers.