After a breakthrough 2012 season, things ended poorly for CN Power last year. Struggling through injury and unexpected retirements, the Toronto all stars headed to Grand Rapids to take on the Grand Raggidy Roller Girls missing key players. The results were disappointing for the team to say the least: a big loss to a lesser ranked opponent.
Fast forward to this weekend and a recovered, rested CN Power took to the track for the first game of 2013 against a Killamazoo Derby Darlins group that may have been the only team in WFTDA’s North Central Region that was hotter than CN Power in 2012. Having slipped ahead of CN Power in the rankings (largely due to a victory over that same Grand Raggidy team shortly before Toronto lost to them), Killamazoo ended 2012 on a tear, going 11-4 in WFTDA play (14-4 overall), and was looking to avenge two previous losses to CN Power.
Toronto had other things in mind.
Driven by a vocal home crowd, CN Power lunged out to a 31-3 start 4:30 into the game. Killamazoo was caught off guard, and in the early going, were having troubles containing CN Power’s jammers. Dust Bunny looked solid in her return after a long injury layoff, while Bambi bounced back after a rough game in Grand Rapids. Rebel Rock-It, who shifted her game to take on more jamming in 2012, continued to look solid with the star, and last year’s breakout offensive threat Kookie Doe (who introduced herself to the derby community after an explosive ECDX) rounded out an impressive and consistent rotation for the home team.
By the midway point of the period, CN Power remained in complete control, up 88-21 as Killamazoo ran into penalty troubles and CN Power was able to take advantage of power jams. One of the bigger weaknesses in the Grand Raggidy loss was loose packs, but Toronto was significantly tighter in this one: It was a veteran lineup full of big-game experience and it showed in the poise and control of things in the first half. The impact of the on-track leadership of the likes of Tara Part and Nasher the Smasher was evident, and for the half, CN Power would accumulate only 16 penalty minutes to Killamazoo’s 24.
But Killamazoo tightened up as the half continued and managed a push pack in the final 10 minutes. A physical jammer rotation was anchored on the first half by Terrorhawk but featured triple threat Rosie Furocious and Doobie Trap as well. Killamazoo kept pace with CN Power for the duration of the half, just getting edged 48-38 over that span, but were down a considerable margin at the break, 173-62.
This parity continued through the first ten minutes of the second half as the Derby Darlins settled into the game, and some determined pack work from Furocious, Neva Soba, and Javelin started to draw considerable pack penalties from CN Power. Heckler (who had played in the B-team game earlier in the evening) also came on strong with the star in the second, helping to pull more leads from the undermanned CN Power packs. By the midway point of the second, Killamazoo had chipped away at the lead to make it 214-132.
The biggest downfall for Killamazoo may have been power jam management. Too often they allowed CN Power skaters to pace-line during the jammer advantage, and wasted valuable moments unsuccessfully trying to isolate and trap at fast speeds. Although CN Power did not have as many power jam opportunities in the second, they took advantage of those they did to maintain their lead, so despite the strong pushback from the visitors, the difference remained significant (237-158) with only 7 minutes remaining.
CN Power would actually end up getting outscored in the second half (107-90), due, in large part, to pack penalties that often left only two blockers on the track. That being said, the Toronto blockers often stepped up in these situations, with Betty Bomber and Dyna Hurtcha working particularly well in short handed situations.
In the end, a fully stacked CN Power was too much for the visitors from Michigan, and Toronto was able to kick off 2013 much like they did 2012—with a minor upset in an important WFTDA game, winning 263-169.
While Toronto got two weeks off before their next game, Killamazoo was right back at it and did not leave Canada empty handed, defeating Hammer City’s Eh! Team 358-126 in a WFTDA sanctioned bout on Sunday.
Killamazoo Killa Crew 129 vs. ToRD Bay Street Bruisers 268
The Bay Street Bruisers kicked off their second season as ToRD’s B-team playing in what will be just the first of a handful of double-headers with their big sisters CN Power. Last season, the Bruisers initially focused on more regional play, and while that will remain a big part of their season in 2013, they will also shift focus to more travel south of the border, and will even take part in this year’s Quad City Chaos.
The Bruisers established themselves as a B-team to watch in 2012, winning the RDAC Eastern Canadian Championship, compiling a 6-1 record overall and rising all the way up to 8th in overall Canadian rankings (currently, they are ranked 10th—the only B-team in the Top 10).
As CN Power would, the Bruisers jumped out to a quick start, taking the first four lead jammer statuses and building a 21-6 lead. The first power jam actually went to the visitors, but they were unable to do much with it, getting all sorts of trouble from the Bruisers power kill and only managing a 5-point pick up. The Bruisers kept a tight jammer rotation of Bellefast, Getcha Kicks and Hailey Copter (formerly titmouse) who were able to keep The Killa Crew off guard. While the Bruisers were able to build a significant lead through the first 20 minutes (68-26), they couldn’t quite pull away.
Led by the powerful Maditude Adjustment and Heckler (who also played for the A-team), Killa Crew varied its jammer rotation and was able to mount—if not a comeback—at least enough of an attack to stay within reach over the final ten minutes; the Bruisers held a 53% lead percentage for the half, but it was only 33% over the final ten minute stretch. Nonetheless, they led105-53 at the break.
Killa Crew maintained this momentum over the first 5 minutes of the second half, managing to create three consecutive power jams and climbing all the way back to be within 6, 109-103. A timeout from the Bruisers bench allowed the team a moment to calm themselves and refocus, and the Bruisers came out flying the rest of the way (Killamazoo would be held to only 26 points over the final 20 minutes).
The Bruisers were led in the packs by veteran pivots Speedin Hawkin, Dawson and Monichrome, Scarcasm and Ames to Kill were dominant defensively, while Robber Blind and Furious Georgia provided some strong offensive blocking. The tight jammer rotation opened up later in the game allowing Bruisers rookie Taranasuarus Rex an opportunity with the star, and one she made the most of, managing a 100% lead percentage over four jams that included a late 25 pointer that put the game away. The Bay Street Bruisers managed a 78% lead percentage over the final 15 minutes of the game, outscoring their opposition 101-24 over the span, running away with what at one point, looked like was going to be a tight game.
With the home opener out of the way, ToRD’s travel teams will be on the road in two weeks with CN Power and the Bruisers taking on Fort Wayne on February 16th, and CN Power then taking on the mighty Naptown (Indianapolis) on the 17th. The Fort Wayne double header will be boutcast live; stay tuned for more details.