MONTRÉAL, QC – After a dramatic 1-point game over Sun State earlier in the day, #6 Boston faced #10 Rocky to decide who would advance to play for 5th and 7th, respectively. In a surprisingly tight contest (considering the ranking difference), similar styles of play resulted in relatively split stats across the board: lead designation (46% vs. 51%, favoring Rocky), penalties (27 vs. 35, also favoring Rocky), and power jams (10 vs. 9, favoring Boston).
Both teams relied on braced 2-wall defense while sending designated offense (when full packs afforded such), again, showing very similar results as the game showcased many lead changes and momentum swings. In general, pack play was much faster than other games of the weekend – allowing both team’s proclivity towards speedy, nimble jamming and flexible, dynamic defense to end in an exciting win for Boston, decided in the last jam.
The first two jams would be an accurate prediction of the events to come, as the game began with a quick 5-0, Boston over Rocky, as Havoc was boxed early and Maya Mangleyou put up the first points of the game. In Jam 2, Rocky’s Wild E. Coyote returned the favor, putting up 9 while Boston’s Space Invader was boxed on a track cut.
While Boston would retain their lead for the entire period, Rocky’s palpable energy heading into this bout kept scoring limited for the higher seed with smart star passes. If Boston gained lead, Rocky would answer in the next jam, and power jams were evenly traded. With the exception of jam 16, when Boston’s McClean picked up 18 points over Rocky’s long-time veteran She Who Cannot Be Named (pushing their score to 79-52), Rocky kept the differential close despite having twice as many box trips in the period, to end the period trailing by a single point, 86-85.
The second half started with Maya Mangleyou (Boston) and Havoc (Rocky Mountain) facing off again, though, this time Havoc quickly obtained lead by dancing up the outside line and grabbed 4 points before Boston could answer. With Rocky taking their first lead, 89-86, and fafter Wild E. Coyote was boxed late in the second jam, Space Invader spun out of the pack to grab lead and return the score to their favor, 100-98. Continuing the trend of trading lead calls and points, the first ten minutes of play barely showed a 4 point lead in either team’s favor.
Boston was gifted the opportunity to blow open a lead in jam 7 when Havoc was boxed, allowing Space Invader used her fancy feet as her defender Rock played devastating defense to net a 19-0 – the biggest jam of the game. Rocky then called an appropriate time-out, resulting in a swing in their favor as Boston’s Hardcore was boxed twice in the subsequent jam. However Rocky’s opportunity was limited as Sweet E, Rock and BFF Anna worked over Fiona Grapple to kill the power jam, and only gave up 4 points; 134-115 Boston. They continued to swap jams and scoring runs and Rocky gained another power jam in jam 11 with a 15-0 run for Havoc, closing the score to 134-130.
With 13 min left on the clock, Boston again lost their jammer to the box, as Sweetie Ramone for Rocky took advantage of a light pack to picked up another 5, and another lead change, 139-138 Rocky. The lead was short-lived as Rocky’s jammer was boxed on a track-cut as Space Invader came out of the box to get lead jammer, 9 points and return the lead to Boston’s favor. This trend would continue throughout the remained of the period, excepting a late-game jammer penalty for Havoc in jam 19, giving Boston the chance to open their lead and secure their win.
However, Rocky had other plans, and drew a back block on McClean to recoup the opportunity. With the clock stopped at 3:45, Rocky also took an official review to contest a cut on McClean late in the jam, while they sat on an 8-point deficit, 172-164. Winning the review, Rocky used the power start to gain a cut call themselves as Wild E. Coyote was forced to the inside but unfortunately bettered her position when returning to play. After McClean returned to play she also cut to return the power jam to Rocky only to see Coyote getting a blocking out of bounds call.
In the last jam with 1:41 left, Rocky’s jammer boxed, Boston was up 176-164; Boston fielded Space Invader (their highest scorer, with 52 points over 10 jams) and gained lead, while Wild E. Coyote (Rocky’s leading scorer with 69 points over 15 jams) was boxed after a short-lived return to the track, securing the win for Boston 186-164.
In a fast, physical game, Rocky Mountain lost May Q. Pay to 7 fouls, and Boston demonstrated not only their physical endurance, but their mental endurance to perform under the pressure of a second close game in one day. Though, while Boston blockers BFF Anna, Sweet Enemy and Rock locked down brutal defense, Boston as a whole were unable to adjust to the quick paths taken by Rocky jammers, such as Havoc who capitalized on the outside line, jam after jam. Having entered the bracket at #10, Rocky will exit the tournament having bettered their ranking in the 7th place game at noon EDT, while Boston hopes to do the same in the 5th place game, Sunday at 2pm EDT.