World Cup Consolation: (10) Finland Survives (6) France, 115-84
TORONTO, ON -- In Saturday's final consolation bout, France matched up against Finland to determine which team would go on to play Sweden for 5th place on Sunday and which would play New Zealand for 7th place. Finland had a lead as large as 111-37 with 10 minutes to go, but France caught fire in the end, going on a 46-4 run to close the game. It was too little too late, though, and Finland came out on top, 115-84.
Things were very evenly matched for the first quarter of the 40 minute game. The first jam saw both teams get on the board with a 3-2 narrowly favoring France, but France lost blocker Meryl Strip-Her to the box during it and Finland's Udre used the pack advantage to score a 4-0 that put Finland up 6-3 after two jams. France's Bestia Loca had lead next but called just a moment too late, allowing Finland to almost equalize in a 4-3 France win that kept Finland narrowly up, 9-7. A 1-0 to Finland followed by a 0-0 kept the score tight and low at 10-7 Finland after 6 minutes of play.
Finland had the first power jam opportunity when France's Dual Hitzen was boxed for skating out of bounds, and it was Udre with the unopposed time for Finland; however, France got some good blocking from Bloody Vuitton that inspired Udre to call with just 5-0. Hitzen was out of the box on the following jam to take lead, but with Finland's KataStrofi right on her heels, she'd call it at 0-0. Following a 1-0 for Finland next and yet another 0-0, it was still a very low scoring game at 16-7 Finland with about 10 minutes left in the first half.
It looked like France was going to get some good news when their jammer Dual Hitzen took lead and had a lot of separation on trailing jammer KataStrofi, but it went south when Hitzen was boxed on a major track cut, joining two of her blockers in the box. The resultant full-length jam ended up being huge for Finland instead -- 25-4, more points than had been scored in the entire game up to that moment -- and Finland had a much more comfortable lead at 41-11 with 7:42 to go. France called their first of two timeouts there.
Both teams got back to lower scoring with a 4-4 followed by France's first clean win with a 4-0 that made it 45-19 with 5 minutes left in the first half. After a 0-0, the teams lost their jammers almost simultaneously, leading to a full length between France's Bestia Loca and Finland's Trixie Grandbang. Bestia made a mental error by attempting to call the jam after a scoring pass and getting a minor for her trouble, but it still ended as a big jam for France as Truck Off Pooky, Francey Pants, Whiskey Mamy and Chakk Attack held up Trixie; the 14-4 frame for France made it 49-33 Finland.
Finland bounced back immediately, though, getting all of that back and more by ending the half on a two-jam 20-0 run. At the break, Finland was up 69-33.
Yet more 0-0 jams marked the beginning of the second half as two jams went off with the trailing jammer being called lead and killing action before scoring passes could occur. But on the third jam of the half, Bloody Viitton, Butch Shan, Truck off Pooky and jammer Bestia Loca had a French party in the penalty box, leaving only the uninvited Francey Pants out on the track to try and slow Finland's offense; the 20-0 jam put Finland up 89-33. When Trixie Grandbang added 9-0 on the other side of the power jam, it was 98-33 Finland with 14:02 and Finland was in solid control.
France finally got points on a power jam to Bestia Loca, but she back-blocked her own way to the box before completing her first scoring pass; the jam went 4-0 France to make it 98-37, but Bestia Loca's box trip led to a Finland 13-0 that made it 111-37. With only 10:02 left on the clock, that seemed like the nail in the coffin.
But Francey Pants managed to get some momentum back for her team when she was jammer during a nightmare penalty jam for Finland, as they filled their box two times in the same jam; Francey rushed to a 19-1 that made it 112-56 with 7:30 left, just on the edge of possibility for a comeback.
After a 0-0, Finland again lost their jammer and it was France's Dual Hitzen storming through another penalty avalanche for Finland, as they kept losing blockers on out-of-play violations; Hitz took 10 and called with Finland's penalty box still totally full. The score was then 112-66 with 5:09, and the France fans in the crowd seemed to sense that their team had a real chance.
Francey Pants kept hope alive with a quick lead jam call on a minimal pack and 4-0 to move it to 112-70 with 4:13 left, but there just wasn't enough time to finish making up that gap even though France took the majority of the lead jam calls for the rest of the bout. Going into the last minute, France had cut the 74-point lead to 32 points at 115-83, but Finland got the last lead jammer call. France's bench was just a hair too late when they tried to call timeout in the 3 seconds remaining after the call-off, and the game ended on a 0-0, 115-83.
Finland will significantly improve on their 10 seed when they play for 5th place against Sweden tomorrow; France will finish below their seeding when they play for 7th against New Zealand.