TUCSON, AZ – This was a game ultimately decided by the high numbers of jammer penalties, like many of the games this weekend, and resulting power jam control of the scoring handing Rocky a slim extra few opportunities that they quickly added up in the first half. The second suddenly turned in Arch Rival’s favor, as they clamped down on their penalties and pushed Rocky into more, claiming more leads and regular double digit additions to prove their seeding for the tournament and take 3rd place and a first time ticket to Champs, 224-185.
First jam in saw Brickyard quickly boxed for Arch Rival, and Sweet Mary Pain took the power jam in her hands, with a 14-0 addition. Phantom Menace seemed keen to drive home the point in the second jam, as she added 15-0, leaving Arch Rival unscoring at 29-0 in Rocky’s favor.
It took the 3rd jam, nearly 4 minutes into the game, before Arch Rival was finally able to add in 3 unreplied points. When Sweet Mary Pain took a penalty in the following jam, Swanson seemed grimly determined to add in further points. A jammer dosey-doe not long after kept the jammer penalties high, and the power jams of the game were the time to score best.
Packs kept becoming spread out and frequently slowed to take stock and focus on the track. Offense to defense and vice versa became frequently rapid switches with power jams motivating them.
Further jammer penalties prevented Rocky from continuing their initial climb, and some quiet point inching by Arch Rival kept adding up. With 18:30 remaining in the first period, Mighty Mighty Boston had taken the score to a 35-35 draw mid jam, but Phantom’s return from the box took the lead from Arch Rival, rapidly returning 12 points to Boston’s 10.
At this point, Arch Rival and Rocky shared a mutual conviction for points, adding almost neck and neck to the score, with Rocky just slightly overshooting Arch Rival with each jam. But then a back block call on Swanson left Susy Pow with a power jam and the power jam-motivated additions seemed set to return.
Jammers seemed to tire of the swift rotations of penalties, and first Bricktator and then Sweet Mary Pain mouthed their opinions of calls at the referees as they left the track, simply adding to the time they took off scoring. But that didn’t slow the penalty calls, with jam 15 being punctuated by first Rocky, then Arch Rival, then Rocky again in the penalty box, and an illegal procedure on a star pass caused Rocky’s star to go to the box yet again. By the time the half-time break hit, the score sat at 123-93, with Rocky Mountain holding the lead.
The teams gently pushed up the score, almost alternating jam additions through the first minutes of the game. With a power jam start for Bricktator starting the 9th minute back into the game with a rare pivot-line start, the jammer used every inch of track, running up and using an apex leap and then a determined juke to grab pass after pass almost by sheer will. That 18-0 addition put the differential abruptly down to a narrow 136-128, but Phantom Menace grabbed lead the following jam, determined not to allow the climb to continue. With no points added in that jam, however, Arch Rival was visibly a team with renewed conviction and focus, as Harmony Killerbruise took jam lead and Wild E. Coyote a penalty in the very next jam. A slim single-jam score brought the game down to 3 points between the teams, and then quickly Brickyard took the game into a lead change at 141-136 with just 16 minutes remaining in play.
At that point, a star pass for Rocky lead to enough confusion that a penalty quickly resulted for Susy Pow, jammer star in hand. Mighty Mighty Boston took full advantage, 15-0, to spread the lead even further, and confirm that initial tournament seeding that had seemed so close to being overturned. More jammer penalties for Rocky, with Arch Rival adding their own in, just maintained this climb. Somewhere in amongst this, Arch Rival’s Harmony Killerbruise had to leave the track with a possible clavicle or shoulder break.
With 5 minutes to go, Rocky called the second of their team time-outs as it became clear their scoring wasn’t going to climb any further than occasional partial pass points. By the time Rocky called their third time-out with 2:38 remaining, the score sat at 204-153 with Arch Rival holding lead, and Rocky had run out of chances to prolong the game much further. With 2:06 remaining, Rocky called their Official Review for the half, giving themselves extra cooling time, but the 51 point differential seemed clearly insurmountable by this point.
By the final jam, even a lead jammer call for Phantom Menace, and many scoring passes, the two jammers were too close, and the differential too high to shift the game. Arch Rival took the 3rd placing and their first Championships ticket with a score of 224-185. Rocky Mountain leaves the tournament with 4th place this year.
Catch up on all the scores and games from the weekend at our Tucson Central.