ST PAUL, MN – Denver started this game strong, and took full advantage of Bay Area’s tendency to get off to a slow start. Earning the first three lead calls, Denver opened up an early lead and relied on smart call offs to keep Bay Area off the scoreboard during those jams. After Bay Area took the lead, Denver was never able to reclaim it. Once Bay Area’s wall solidified its ground, their offense – something BAD has honed all season long – came to life as well.
Ultimately, despite a loss to Denver earlier this season, a combination of solid defense and well timed offense allowed Bay Area to pull ahead and take the win, 179-148 over Denver.
Wilhelm earned a quick lead call in the first jam that was followed by two more lead calls in Denver’s favor by Buscek and Dezellem, resulting in a quick 7-0 lead for the Mile High Club. While Denver’s wall of Akers, Lorch, Salvador, and Lester were firing on all cylinders, Bay Area’s defense came to life one blocker at a time.
In the second jam of the game, Buseck earned lead swiftly but was recycled after being knocked down and out by Demanda Riot, allowing Frightmare to escape the pack but Denver called off the jam before BAD could score.
Demanda Riot once again caught the jammer at the top of the pack, allowing Huck Sinn to earn the first lead call for Bay Area and kicked off a five jam lead streak.
Fluezy earned lead for Bay Area but with two blockers sitting in the box, Fluezy held off calling the jam until both blockers were released, resulting a 0-0 jam, but allowing Bay Area to start the next jam with a full contingent of blockers. Clearing the box set-up BAD for a lead change 13-7, 7 minutes into the half.
Huck Sinn picked up a high block, leaving Buseck on a power jam but Bay Area’s wall of Brawllen Angel, belle RIGHT hooks, Liza Machete, and Murderyn Monroe shut down the power jam, preventing Buseck from scoring.
After gaining lead and picking up points on the pass, Fluezy was knocked out and stepped in in front of a blocker and received a cut. The penalty left Barrett on a power jam and Denver cut BAD’s lead to 1 but as Fluezy returned to the track Barrett was sent to the box on a penalty. The jam ended with Bay Area still ahead.
In the first half Bay Area suffered from blocker penalties that at times threatened their lead. Denver’s blockers, while physical and aggressive, skated cleaner. With the exception of a single jam when three Denver blockers were sent to the box in succession, Denver’s penalties occurred in isolation.
Bay Area ran a straight five jammer rotation, though their most productive jammers–Skrappie and Frightmare– were actually in the middle of the rotation. While Denver also used five jammers they put Wilhelm on the track roughly every third jam which made sense considering Wilhelm ended the game as Denver’s high scorer with 61 points.
At the half Bay Area led 88-47 over Denver.
The second half started in Denver’s favor in the same manner as the first period with three lead calls in a row, adding points while BAD was held scoreless. Once again Huck Sinn was the first to break Bay Area’s lead drought, scoring the first points for BAD of the half.
In the second half, Denver changed it’s defensive tactics and opted to start at the pivot line. At the pivot line Denver started in the front of the pack then ran up, hoping to destroy the pack and force Bay Area to release their jammer. At first the move had the desired effect but Bay Area adapted well to the tactic, sending a lone blocker to bridge while a stacked three wall continued to lock in Denver’s jammer.
Salvador gave Bay Area’s jammers the most trouble on the track, often teaming up with Akers to contain and edge out jammers before forcing them to reset far behind the pack. Bay Area’s defense was most effective when they maintained their position as a dynamic flat wall, once individual blockers began to turn and brace, Denver was able to exploit the holes in the wall and break through.
In the second to last jam Skrappie, Bay Area’s highest scorer, finished the game with a 29 point jam as the clock wound down. Denver called a team time-out to extend the game by one more jam. The decision to squeeze in one more jam worked well for Denver and Wilhelm who finished the game strong with a 22 point jam, although it was not enough to overtake Bay Area who won 179-148.
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