SEATTLE, WA – What promised to be a close 3rd place game between two evenly matched teams turned into a heartbreaker for Rat City defined less by the players who were on the track and more by the players who weren’t. Any home-field advantage the Seattleites may have enjoyed in their upset victory over Jacksonville Friday night was erased in a perfect storm of calamity, as jammer penalties, a key ejection, and a lineup breakdown ahead of the highest-scoring jam in WFTDA playoff history proved insurmountable obstacles as Montréal’s New Skids on the Block cruised to a 257-126 victory.
Rat City’s jammers took eleven trips to the penalty box, five more than their opponents – but it was Montréal’s Falcon Punch who picked up the first jammer penalty on their initial pass, providing Alyssa Pray and Rat City with the first power jam of the game. A hastening penalty kill from Montréal was no match for a coordinated attack from Rat City’s offensive blocking line. A returning Falcon Punch took a quick initial pass as Pray appeared to consider and then quash the idea of a call-off in the interest of running the clock and releasing their blockers from the box. This strategy didn’t pay off, as Pray committed a low block penalty and a resurgent Falcon Punch shrugged off a hip check from Carmen Getsome and picked up a 22-15 advantage before being halted by a reunited Rat City defensive formation as the jam reached its natural conclusion.
A track cut called on Montréal’s Miracle Whips shortly after taking lead gave a power jam to Seattle’s Renegade Ruthie, whose apex jump was cut short by Montreal’s defense and a run back. A returning Whips took advantage of some pack confusion to emerge along the inside line, but Rat City’s defense quickly regained its composure and held the score to an 8-8 tie, putting the score at 38-32. Each team proved adept at killing penalties during their earliest jams, holding their opponents to low scores while their jammers served time in the penalty box.
When the whistle blew to start a tenth jam face-off between Luna Negra and Falcon Punch, a surprised Rat City bench realized that they had only fielded a single blocker, R. Rickel. Falcon’s fast feet proved difficult for Rickel to contain, as Luna found herself frequently stymied by an otherwise uninterrupted Montréal tripod defensive formation. Falcon capitalized fully on this pack advantage, allowing Luna to make three four-point scoring passes while they made ten of their own for a WFTDA playoff-record 46-12 jam, shattering a 45-point record previously set by then-Rose City jammer Scald Eagle in 2013. When the jam reached its conclusion, Montréal had vaulted to a 94-45 lead.
An emboldened Honey Badger found themselves reabsorbed by Rat City’s defense after claiming lead, but a Montréal tripod stymied Alyssa Pray in enough time for Honey Badger to recover from an impressive defensive block from Seattle’s H. Botts and pick up 10 more points. Falcon Punch’s scheduled return to the track just a few jams later saw them picking up lead on the heels of an Alyssa Pray no-pass and putting faith in their own defense with a wide path along the outside line, putting up thirteen to Pray’s 3. What appeared to be a missed apex jam by Renegade Ruthie just a jam later actually saw her making full contact with the inside of the track and picking up all four points before contacting out of bounds.
A 14-4 jam in favor of Evergreen Jean stoked Rat City’s comeback ambitions, only to see them dashed as CeeCee, an early highlight of Rat City’s blocking lines, was expelled on what head referee Loren Order deemed a flagrant clockwise block. Big jams from Falcon Punch, Honey Badger and Mel E Juana saw Rat City held scoreless to close out the first period as Montréal ran up their lead to 163-72.
Montréal’s jammers had jams with multiple scoring passes ten times in the first half, compared to five for Rat City. Without CeeCee on the track, Rat City relied on H. Botts, Carmen Getsome, and R. Rickel to buff up their blocking lines in the second half to great effect, cutting Montréal’s multiple scoring passes in half while maintaining their own count, as each team accrued five. Montréal proved more able to capitalize on their opponents’ penalty trouble, as a kneepad slide and recovery into an offensive assist put Falcon Punch on track for a 17-0 jam through some separated Rat City blockers as Renegade Ruthie served a forearm penalty to put the score at 195-84. Rat City proved adept at limiting Montréal’s gains through the next fifteen jams despite picking up eight penalties to Montréal’s four, keeping more of their team on the track and recovering from power jams to outscore Montréal 40-21.
But Montréal made up that ground quickly when a quick lead call for Mel E Juana led to four blocker penalties for Rat City and a foul-out for Carmen Getsome as Montréal racked up another 15. Falcon Punch ran the next jam long to run down the clock, picking up 18 points while their blocking line held Luna Negra to 2, and quick lead calls to Honey Badger and Mel E Juana allowed Montréal to close out the game with a 257-126 victory, awarding them the bronze medal and third-place seeding in Philadelphia.
The Tournament MVP went to Montréal’s Falcon Punch.
Be sure to visit Tournament Central for more recaps and scores.