MONTREAL, QC – After each team succumbed to a loss yesterday, both #6 Boston and #8 Sun State entered this game with some real hunger for a win. The game played out exactly as you might expect from two teams this closely ranked, right down to the breathtaking final few minutes of play in which a key Boston lead grab by Maya Mangleyou against opposing jammer Jambi gave the team just enough to grab a single point win in the end, 172-171.
The first jam line-up became a familiar one, with Maya Mangleyou for Boston and Jambi for Sun State up to jam. A quick tussle up to turn one, and then a blast of speed from Jambi got the Australians lead and first points on the board, 4-0. The first four jams were a close-out for Boston, with Sun State taking those points and running up to 30, unreplied.
But then, after a single 10-point scoring contribution from HardCore, Boston all but stalled once again, with only a tiny smattering of points added; a 14-point addition towards the end of the first period seemed to crack Boston’s streak wide open. Then the team gathered repeat lead jammer status and points right up into the halftime break, with a final highlight jam where Maya added a massive 24 points, entering the halftime break at 101-67 to Sun State. Play was tense and competitive, with Boston visibly trying to work out their competition throughout the first half, and beginning to do so successfully.
After the break, the game reopened with Maya against Trauma Junkie, the same jammer duo that juked it out on the track when Maya added in her huge 24-point jam just prior to the half. By jam’s end, May gathered 12 points—perhaps the first of Sun State’s key mistakes in the game return.
A fired-up Boston had obviously returned with some game lessons fresh in their brains, and were keen to push up points as quickly as possible. But perhaps the most crucial shift in the team’s approach was their clamp-down on penalties, with 22 in the first half changing rapidly to only 13 in the second, while Sun State’s penalty tally remained the same. What this meant for play was that while the lead jammer percentages remained very similar, Boston was able to keep enough people on the track that their opponents had far fewer scoring opportunities, and were able to take greater advantage of their own scoring grabs.
Finally, with only four minutes remaining in the game, Flyin’ King picked up a swift 4-0 on a series of twists, turns and jumps through the pack around the difficult outside of the pack on a turn, taking Boston into the lead with a late game lead change, at 156-154. At this point, a buoyant Boston seemed poised for the win, but their good spirits may have momentarily got in the way, as a fragmenting defensive line, first back then front, became unable to hold back Trauma Junkie, who took a quick lead and two scoring passes for 9-0, which returned Sun State to game lead.
Squeezing in three further jams in the few remaining minutes did no favors for Sun State, who picked up two lead jammer calls, but were only able to add a couple of points at a time to their score. The final jam would prove to be a nail-biter that sealed Boston’s win, as Maya took lead while Sun State’s Jambi was boxed on a back block, leaving both packs focused on Boston’s points tally. This final power jam yielded just one single point, but it was enough for a lead change and a final game win, 172-171.
Sun State heads now through the consolation bracket to the 9th place game Sunday at 10am EST, sadly guaranteed to leave below their seeding, and will be playing the loser of Kallio versus Dallas for the 9th spot. While Boston goes on to play for 5th place, facing Rocky Mountain at 4pm EST tomorrow.