MRDWC QFs: France Outlasts Argentina, 310-102

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One of the big questions lingering over day two was whether the short Argentina squad could replicate their success in half hour bouts in full-length games. In the end the answer was lost in the deafening roars for Argentina’s dwindling numbers. The bout ended early after foul-outs reduced them to three, but the sheer force of will displayed as they fought and scored right to the bitter end was unmatched by anyone on the track this weekend.

The French started the stronger but struggled, as had all the teams before them, to exert any consistent control over Argentina’s diminutive jamming pair of Castillo and El Pibe.

A couple of cuts on those two meant France held a 48-8 lead after ten minutes. That lead was extended following an official review by Argentina on a contentious cut by Castillo–but just as El Pibe escaped from the box and slipped straight through the French pack, The Cleaner was penalised for a cut and Argentina put up their first grand slam of the game.

A full French box meant Pibe could capitalise on the remainder of the powerjam with help from Optimus Quad and The Beast and undo the damage. X-Wing finally had Castillo’s number in jam 12 to let the Cleaner in for the first big jam with an Argentina jammer out there to make it 101-23–but the biggest cheer of the jam came for a huge blocker takedown by Argentina’s Sanchez practically at the whistles.

A forearm on The Cleaner a few jams later after being laid into by The Beast and Niño Acido gave Sir Ar2 a chance to prove there was a third diminutive Argentinian jammer who could do some damage; he combined a 15-0 jam with a sharp call to help his team’s cause. Guevara proved his worth to Argentina in powerjam defence just as the game threatened to completely run away from the Argentinians as the first half came to a close, but even his heroic efforts couldn’t keep Argentina in touch as they suffered a devastating cascade of penalties in the pack just as France tightened their discipline.

The French lead passed 100 before a couple of strong late jams left them with a 166-38 half-time lead. A rapid natural grand slam for Castillo opened the second period brightly for Argentina, but it was only a brief respite from a relentless French onslaught. Niño Acido fouled out of the bout with a little over five minutes of the period gone further reducing Argentina’s numbers. Argentina reacted to that setback with their biggest jam of the game–followed by a 5-0 jam from The Beast, taking the star for the first time. Guevara then fouled out to reduce Argentina to six as The Beast pulled double duty with the star–but getting two penalties in the process. Guevara turned cheerleader at this point, taking his place in the crowd with flag and drum ensuring noise records for the weekend were broken repeatedly in the closing stages as Argentina fought on, refusing to let the French extend their lead significantly. Castillo fouled out with half of the period remaining to reduce Argentina to five for the final quarter.

Once again, though, Argentina responded to misfortune positively. A cut was forced on Rocket Busch as he tried to grab points as Pibe hound him–and Pibe went out again in the next jam to put up points on the powerjam. Optimus Quad teetered on six penalties as the lone defender as Pibe recieved minor ice treatment on the bench from the medical staff as Argentina briefly skated short and sent two the box. Pibe returned to the track to join Quad in defence with a full Argenine box.

Even with only five skaters left the Argentinians still managed a lead call or two in the next couple of minutes as the French extended their lead to 310-102 when Quad finally got his seventh penalty and reduced Argentina to four. He did a lap of the track to cheers and rapturous applause before removing himself from the track–and that was to be the last action of the game as it was called with seven minutes to go as only El Pibe, Sir Ar2 and The Beast remained as Sanchez fouled out as well and Argentina were unable to both field a team and fulfil their penalty-box obligations.

The French booked their place in a semifinal against the winner of England and Australia.

France:
129 Rocket’Busch // 13 Killian David // 1631 The Cleaner // 2000 AssHellOff // 2012 X-WING // 27 Monkey Bizness // 31 Angry Bear // 4NUS Maya Yanus // 6E23 Maelstrom // 95 High G Nik // F22 Slash Gordon // G4R4 Candel Héros // K2 Spider Biscote // X11 Scare NX

Argentina:
10 Chispita // 28 Sanchez // 5 Optimus Quad // 666 The Beast // 8 El Pibe // 930 Guevara // 99 Niño Acido // D2 Sir Ar2

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