BALLWIN, MO — In the most closely contested bout of the MRDA championship quarterfinals, #4 Magic City picked up a solid win over #5 Puget Sound — but with plenty of pain dealt out on both sides in the process of taking it. By turns graceful and brutal, with some truly magnificent skating peppered with a bevy of barbaric collisions, Magic City’s 199-161 win kept the Jacksonville team undefeated in 2012 and sent them to a Sunday morning meeting with top seed Your Mom.
Puget Sound will play Dallas in Saturday’s final game at 7pm.
This one couldn’t have started much more narrowly. For three jams in a row, the jammers battled for over a minute in each jam before getting freed — and in each of the first three jams, the trailing jammer was called lead, leaving the score at just 2-0 Puget Sound. Magic City tied it at 2 on the fourth jam.
Things got better for Magic City on jam 5, when Puget Sound lost jammer Speed Dealer on a track cut. MCM’s Chuck Best blew up the crowd when he started tying a wayward shoelace on his approach to the pack — and continued to tie it while successfully juking his way to a grand slam. That jam ended 10-0 and MCM added more on the other side of the power jam to take a 25-2 lead with about eight minutes gone in the game.
Two jams later, it was Puget Sound’s Speed Dealer on the right side of a power jam after Magic City’s jammer guessed wrong on whether he could re-enter legally and got hit with a track cut major. Dealer took 10 — quintupling his team’s score — and tried to ice the Magic City jammer in the box, but after an official timeout, Magic City successfully challenged the jammer penalty. Magic City won the next jam as well, pushing their advantage to 30-12 with 17:30 in the half.
Brutal blocking from Scott Slamilton and Chuck Hendrick handled Magic City jammer Christopher Smith long enough for PSOD’s Ryrod to take 8 and narrow it to a ten point game at 30-20, but Magic City narrowly won the next three to move the needle to 16 points at 40-24.
A full length jam between Jeremy Strecker and Scott Slamilton eventually became a power jam for Strecker, who repeatedly battled past big hits from Puget blocker Chuck Hendrick for a big 23-0 jam that gave Magic City the first solid lead of the game at 63-24. As the clock ticked into the last ten minutes of the half, Chuck Best added 3-0 and it was 66-24 Magic City.
Things remained fairly low-scoring over the next few minutes with the score inching forward to 72-37 with 5:07 in the half on a official timeout. The next jam saw a brutal hit from from Magic City’s TJ Binkley on Puget jammer Cougar Bait which helped MCM’s Derek Calkins to a 12-4 big win — even though Magic City lost blocker Jason Moseley mid jam when his skate truck snapped, leaving two wheels rolling orphaned across the track. That left it 84-41 with 1:28 left in the half.
Jeremy Strecker and Jonny Wical ended the half with a bang for Magic City. First, Strecker racked 12-4 with a couple of crowd-pleasing, one-footed balancing acts on the boundary lines; that ended with a power jam situation for Magic City, during which Wical bulled his way to an unanswered 14 points. At the break, Magic City was on their way to opening a dominant lead at 110-45.
Puget Sound came into the second half with a significant blocker disadvantage in a 4-2 pack, but Chuck Hendrick managed to force a 0-0 calloff from Chuck Best; next up, the pack situation flipped with Magic City down 4-2, but Strecker was able to manufacture a 5-0 out of it to extend the Magic City lead.
Jam three of the half went full length but was once again advantage Magic City as Chuck Best and Christopher Harrell held up Puget’s Stan Daside during a 19-7 run for the 4 seed. With five minutes gone in the half, Puget Sound was slipping into a very imposing hole at 134-52, and could only get 8 points closer even on a subsequent power jam that spanned the next two frames.
Puget Sound played Magic City evenly on the scoreboard for the next ten minutes, but with time running out for Puget Sound the action only got more brutal. At the 14:13 mark, Magic City held a 164-80 advantage; from there, Puget finally put together a good series of lead jam calls and had managed to cut into the lead a little bit at 173-108, but had a very tough task ahead with only 8 minutes to play.
PSOD got a big break when Magic City jammer Jonny Wical had lead and looked likely to add to the MCM margin, but he committed what he apparently thought was a minor cut on PSOD’s Radillac — except that Radillac was the only Puget Sound blocker on the floor at the moment, automatically making him the foremost opposing blocker. On the subsequent Puget Sound power jam, they continued closing the gap, narrowing to 55 points at 177-122 with 5:05 to play. Puget called timeout there.
However, the next jam would be the nail in the coffin for Puget Sound — it went 1-0 Puget, but ended with their jammer Thunderstruck in the box on a major back block. The next jam started with 4:09 on the clock and Magic City up by 54 — Jeremy Strecker’s 19-0 put it out of reach for good at 196-123 with 2:34 to play. Two jams later, the game ended on a Puget Sound power jam and they skated it all the way out, allowing them to take a little bit off the final margin, but Magic City’s win was a definitive one at 199-161.