DALLAS, TX – The first day of D1 Playoffs in Dallas had already had a close #8 seed/#9 seed game followed by a #10 seed upset over the #7 team. The first quarter of this game, it looked like #11 seed Houston was going to take charge right away and exploit the missteps of #6 Queen City. However, once the Buffalo, New York team found their groove, they were able to start laying on multi-pass scoring jams and pull the score away.
While Houston did better overall with penalties, Queen City’s lead status percentage, especially the 68.2% in the second half, helped them win more of the quick, hit it and quit it jams. Each team was able to control the other’s higher scorers, but other jammers emerged to pick up necessary points. Ultimately, Queen City got more than twice the amount of points than Houston in the second half, confirming their 195-104 victory.
The Queen City Lake Effect Furies fielded LiBRAWLian for the first jam – a skater who has earned 88 points per game in their regular season – while Houston’s Slayer Moon took to the line, averaging an almost identical 87 points per game herself. A quick race around the track led to three points for Queen City, before Houston could get around to score.
Enjen got lead status for Houston in the next, and with Crazy Squirrel jumping out of the pack after her, they both hit the pack to score and picked up four points each, keeping Queen City in the lead.
LiBRAWLian returned to the track for the third jam, and her agility and power pushed her through for another lead and she was able to jump the apex for a quick five points before Arrak-kiss could get out of the densely packed blockers. After another Queen City lead, and two points by GO!, Queen City led 15-4.
The Furies fell into a bit of trouble next, and after shutting out Crazy Squirrel, Houston pulled penalties on Queen City for three jams in a row. Blockers like Bricks Hit-house and Murphy were good at recycling and catching jammers during the resulting power jams, but they also had to deal with big offensive hits from Kelly Killpowski. Queen City was able to kill one of the penalties, but Houston was still able to add on a few grand slams and took the lead 36-15.
Houston’s Arrak-kiss earned another lead status, but things in the pack got back to normal for Queen City and Crazy Squirrel sped out of the pack as well, which led to a 0-0 jam. That was the first of seven scoreless jams for Houston, but they made Queen City work hard for every point they took to cut their lead down. Both teams had jammers who could pull off crazy spins and sneak by on toe stops, so scoring relied heavily on their defenders holding it down in the pack.
KonichiWOW returned to Queen City this season and brought with them their knowledge and experience from Windy City and Montreal. Their defensive eye was on point, racing up and catching jammers who were nearly out of the pack, or playing keep away with the Houston pivot when their jammers were trying to pass the star.
Another benefit for Queen City was that they placed an offense blocker in the opposing tripod from the jam start to help break things up. Houston attempted to de-tangle by moving towards the pivot line, but this just allowed speed and space for quick-footed jammers to speed through the pack. A final ten points by InSINerator in Queen City’s scoring streak put them ahead 44-36, with ten minutes left in the first half.
Things continued at a rapid pace with no time outs to break things up. And jams stayed short and sweet, as jammers stayed out of the penalty box.
Houston got two lead statuses in a row, but could only try for one scoring pass as their defenders couldn’t reform quite as fast, allowing Queen City to spring their jammers quickly. Houston was kept off the board for another four jams, but this time they kept Queen City from laying on too many points with quick knockouts and runbacks by Speed O’ or 2x Force. Queen City pushed ahead by just over ten points, 58-47.
While battling with Death By Chocolate at the front, GO! ended up with a low block and gave up another power jam for Houston, but Bricks, Pepper Stix, and K-WOW clung tightly to EnJen, only allowing one five point pass. Those points were erased and then some in the next jam, and InSINerator jumped and pushed through for 14 points before a star pass could get the jammer out of the pack for Houston. It was only with 28 seconds left in the half that Houston stopped the clock and took their official review as a time out.
One final jam added six more points by LiBRAWLian and going into the half, Queen City led 78-50.
Crazy Squirrel had normally been the second highest scorer for the Furies, but Houston held her to just one lead status at this point and seven points. Enjen was the most effective so far for Houston, scoring 32 of their 50 points. Penalties weren’t affecting anyone much more than the other, and Houston’s clean jammer game was what was keeping them in this so far.
Queen City took lead status in the first jam back, and Houston kept LiBRAWLian to just four points with a star pass. Houston continued to stash or pass throughout the game to compensate for their lack of lead calls, but Queen City started to pick up bigger jams in the second half. With a 4:2 pack advantage, Houston did force LiBRAWLian to pass the star to Midnyt Maniac, but Queen City still won the jam 4-2 while Diamond Cut-Her took a seat in the penalty box after earning lead status.
Houston amped up their defense in the second period, and things became a bit more aggressive in the pack. Bustin’ Beaver and Hot Assets dropped Queen City’s jammers out of bounds while DBC hunted them down, but once Houston got strung out, it was harder for them to get back together quickly.
As the second half ticked on, Queen City’s control of the game with lead status and more consistent offense ushered their jammers through. Houston also took five jammer penalties this half while Queen City only gave up two.
There were still moments where Houston’s game calmed down. And although they were held scoreless for clumps of jams, they kept Queen City on their toes and forced calls offs with small amounts of points.
Houston was able to break the century mark by the end of the game, but Queen City emerged as winner 195-104. A few big jams in the second half put GO! as Queen’s highest scorer with 64 points, followed by LiBRAWLian with 62 and 80% lead status. None of Houston’s jammers broke 45% lead status and EnJen took the majority of their points with 42.
Queen City advances to a quarterfinal game against Arch Rival at 12pm CDT (6pm BST/3am AEST) Saturday, while Houston gets a break before playing on Sunday at 2pm CDT (8pm BST/5am AEST) against the loser of Game 7.
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