SACRAMENTO, CA–This was indeed a game of two halves and in the opening period, Minnesota looked set to roll right over Rat City, who struggled to break through Minnesota’s stalwart defence. But where Minnesota had doubled up on Rat in the first period, Rat did the same in the latter part of the second–but the run came too late. The margin established in the first three-quarters of the game saw Minnesota escape with a relatively comfortable margin, 197-142, giving them third place in this tournament and punching their ticket to Champs.
While Rat City drew first blood, that single point was eclipsed in the very next jam as Slambda Phage ran for 18–and five minutes later, a 19-point jam for Meg Gronau made it 41-5 in Minnesota’s favour.
Minnesota defaulted to a four-wall but were quick to move to a scattered offence that left the packs looking chaotic–but was undeniably effective. Coupled with jammer penalties on Rat, they were able to keep the Seattle side to just a handful of points for the first 15 minutes.
Rat City had an opportunity to push back when Phage picked up a penalty early in the second period, leaving Luna Negra scoring unopposed; she more than doubled Rat’s tally to make it 66-25, and Sintripetal Force followed that up with a 10-2 run. When Carmen Getsome landed in the penalty box wearing the stripe and holding the star, though, Meg Gronau made it 84-32 with nine minutes left in the first half.
The period closed out in similar style–Rat’s jammers were simply unable to break through the Minnesota defence and what points they did put up were primarily on power jams when the Rat blocking corps could play offence.
Minnesota scored their first century with a minute left in the first half; an official timeout at that point saw Missile America expelled for an egregious block after making contact with an opposing skater during an apex jump. Phage challenged RawkHell Sqwelch in the last jam of the period and Minnesota took a 117-51 lead into halftime.
Rat City seemed less scattered when they returned to the track and the scoreboard reflected that improved focus; in the first ten minutes of the period, they put up 27 to Minnesota’s 29, making it 146-78 in Minnesota’s favour.
A twelve-minute time-out stopped the clock with 17:50 to play as the NSOs and medics gathered to clean up a trail of blood that circled the full track after a Rat skater injured her hand.
Play resumed with Phage on a power jam and she added a quick 10 before Luna Negra hit the track to make it 165-89; the next jam saw Harmony add just two after grinding defence contained both jammers as the third quarter ticked past.
Rat were able to hold Minnesota scoreless over the next five minutes and broke the century mark themselves. One stand-out jam saw Carmen Getsome and Raven Seaward stifle Harmony at the front of the pack as Luna Negra sat in the box, killing the entire penalty–and the run continued as RattleSkate put up 13-0 to make it 167-113 with just under ten minutes to go.
That run stopped though as Luna Negra cut her way back to the box in the very next jam and Phage opened things back up. She put up 10 before Luna returned to play and passed the star to Carmen Getsome, and 15 before calling off the jam.
That proved a brief interruption in Rat’s momentum as they outscored Minnesota nearly 2:1 in the closing minutes of the game–but the damage had long since been done. Minnesota took the win–and secured the coveted first D1Â spot at Championships with a third-place finish, taking the win 197-142.