D1M 3rd Place: #4 Montréal punches champs ticket over #3 Bay Area, 178-166

D1M 3rd Place: #4 Montréal punches champs ticket over #3 Bay Area, 178-166 Photo credit: Matthew Becker Photography. facebook.com/mbeckerphoto

MONTRÉAL, QC – The #3 seed Bay Area has been to the last four consecutive WFTDA Championships, while Montréal—and all Canadian teams—have never earned an invitation. In a situation familiar to the 2013 and 2015 New Skids, Montréal found themselves in the bronze medal game, but this time, in front of a home crowd. The game was tense and close throughout, but a smart New Skids side were able to take advantage of the final jam, earning the 178-166 win.

Bay Area came with their track-covering flat four-walls, ready to bar Montreal admittance. Montreal came with their rotating box, ready to recycle like the good citizens of Canada they are. For the first five jams it looked like Montréal was going to chip away at Bay Area, but be in control throughout. An 8-15-8 point jam succession from Bay Area brought the score within inches, and there it would stay for most of the game.

You could tell when a team was getting anxious or overwhelmed on the floor when their normally solid form-of-choice would dissolve. Bay Area would stay in that flat three or four walls, except when flustered; at these points, you would see skaters turning around, or moving away from each other, giving Montréal leave to strike. Montréal, meanwhile, would mostly stay near each other in moving shapes, but sometimes Bay Area could disrupt their plan, causing the hometown side to string out.

Bay Area’s Murderyn Monroe and Liza Machete were absolutely critical to Bay Area’s power strategy, helping to continually built flat barricades that flexed, lowered, or stood in reaction to whatever their opposing jammer tried. Bay Area’s defense as a whole did a phenomenal job stagnating jammers like TerminateHer, whose lightning-quick footwork had previously confounded other teams.

Bay Area’s jammers had mixed success against the movement of Montréal. Eva Menace and Pressure Cooker were both very successful, but Huck Sinn—previously a huge threat this weekend—seemed to have enough trouble that she was subbed out in favor of pivot, Brawllen Angel, who was called up via star pass, and to the jammer rotation soon after. Statistically, Brawllen ended up as Bay Area’s most successful jammer, putting up 53 points over seven jams.

Montreal’s Why So Sirius and Surgical Strike brutalized Bay Area whenever given the chance. Both were excellent with offensive switches when given the opportunity, and both were able to draw back their fair share of jammers. Despite a breathtaking performance by Miracle Whips, Falcon Punch was actually the top jammer for Montreal, jamming 13 times, gaining lead 69.2%, and putting up 83 points.

Coming back from the half, Falcon Punch and Miracle Whips put up some big jams to give New Skids some breathing room, but the nickels and dimes from Bay Area never stopped, and Montréal struggled to put multiple point passes on the board.

In Jam 16 of the second half, a nine-point jam by Eva Menace put Bay within 12 points. Brawallen Angel followed it up with a four–point jam. In Jam 20, Pressure Cooker beat out Miracle Whips by three points, bringing the score to 159-144 in Montréal’s favor. In Jam 21, Brawllen Angel came away with a five-point positive differential to bring the score to 167-157.

With about a minute-and-a-half on the game clock, and Bay Area burning their last timeout (Montréal already had burnt theirs), Bay Area fielded slippery vixen April Bloodgate, against Montréal’s Miracle Whips, who looked poised and determined to help her team seal the win. In a herculean effort, Miracle Whips managed to see April Bloodgate escape the clutches of Montréal’s back wall, and placed her body in front of her with just enough to slow her. This lightning-fast decision allowed both jammers to emerge from the pack, but it was Miracle Whips who came out on top, earning lead jammer. Not satisfied with just lead, Miracle Whips used the full momentum of the apex to level April Bloodgate, allowing the Montréal pack to absorb April Bloodgate.

With short packs from both teams, Whips was able to score a relatively easy five-point-pass as two blockers truck-and-trailered with perfection. Bay Area disrupted the mix, and April was able to get through the pack to put up points a couple times, matching Whips. Whips then found herself stuck on the Bay Area four-wall, and decided that she would rather mount her own defense than take another stab at Bay Area’s. As an extra blocker, Whips was able to land exit hits on Bloodgate twice. On the second occasion, she ran her a full lap back, allowing the period clock to run down. Whips called the jam, securing a 178-166 win and a champs ticket for Montréal.

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