BALLWIN, MO — Host team and #2 seed St. Louis GateKeepers had a notably easier time in their game against #7 Dallas Deception than top seed Your Mom had had against bottom seed Central Mass in the previous game. When St. Louis and Dallas met in June, it’d gone overwhelmingly for St. Louis, 340-83, and this one proved even more lopsided as St. Louis utilized both brains and brawn to cruise to a 359-72 victory.
The win sends St. Louis to the 11am Sunday semifinal, where they will face the winner of New York / Portland. Dallas plays again in the consolation rounds tonight against the loser of Puget Sound / Magic City.
Though they were missing noted wrecking ball Wrecking Bill, St. Louis got some standout huge hits and strong positional work from Double Excel, along with some smooth turns with the jam star from relatively new jammer Handrail; Dallas’ Rhino and Magnum Eats Pie had some big moments as blockers while Ninja Please had quite a few valiant battles in a losing jamming effort.
The teams split lead jammer status over the opening four jams of the game, but St. Louis got the better of three of them and was leading 15-5 after five minutes. However, after a rapid-fire 0-0 on jam 5, the game quickly switched from a back-and-forth contest to a St. Louis blowout.
On jam 6, Ramthrax took the star for the first time but ended up in the box early when he apex-jumped directly into GateKeeper defense; that led to a 20-0 for Debaucherous Prime. On the other side of the power jam, neither Shanego Fett or Ramthrax could get lead, but a brutal STL pack of Percy Controll, High Pains Drifter and Kurt Mangle allowed Shanego to rack a big 30-4. With ten minutes gone in the game, St. Louis was up big quickly, 65-9.
Things continued to fall apart for Dallas on the next jam as they lost their jammer again and Magnum PIMP made them pay with 25-0, putting the score at 92-9 with 16 minutes still left in the first half.
Solid defense from Chuck Riedell and Rhino helped Ninja Please to a much needed 9-0 jam win for Dallas, but they got stuck there for the next few jams and St. Louis was into triple digits with about 12 minutes in the first half at 105-18.
St. Louis continued to play a smart and heads-up offensive game, effectively shutting off Dallas blockers from reaching large lanes of track while their jammers cruised through; additionally, GateKeepers jammers were able to pull off some timely defensive maneuvers to keep their opposing numbers trapped in the pack.
By the time Dallas called their first timeout with 4:14 left in the first half, it was getting brutal on the scoreboard at 141-22; at the break, St. Louis was romping 188-26.
Things got a little chaotic through the first minutes of the second half, with more physical play leading to some big falls and a steady stream of both teams’ players going to the box. On a somewhat confusing sequence about 5 minutes deep in the half, both teams lost their jammers to the box apparently as the result of the same hit — but when they both hit the box and were released almost simultaneously, Dallas jammer Ninja Please ended up going right back to the box on an insubordination call. After the resultant power jam, that led to a lengthy referee conference, but on the scoreboard it was all St. Louis — they led 234-29 with 24:44 left in the half.
St. Louis broke the century mark for the third time with 9:35 to play at 309-62 in a game that continued to be remarkably physical — there would be three play stoppages for injury in the half, although all skaters were able to eventually leave the track without assistance. The game closed out with St. Louis winning by 287, 359-72.