CN Power (ToRD) vs. Tri-City Thunder (TCRG)
Quaint New Hamburg will be the setting for the matchup between Eastern Canada’s two WFTDA apprentice leagues: The Tri-City Thunder host ToRD’s CN Power in the first ever meeting between these two all star teams. Thunder, who have played somewhat in the shadow of their big city neighbours have nothing to lose and everything to gain, while CN Power faces the pressure of expectation.
Tri-City Thunder turned some heads when it went through its inaugural 2009 season undefeated (4-0); the team has continued this rapid development through 2010. 4-2 on the year (both losses were to powerhouse teams from Montreal), it was a key, home track come-from-behind victory in June over Rochester’s Roc Stars that could be argued as a defining moment for the team. Faced with a half-time deficit and a talented squad that was having its way on track, the Thunder came out in the second half and completely took over the bout, imposing its style of play and grinding out an impressive 20 point victory.
CN Power got off to a very impressive start in 2010 as well by destroying the Rideau Valley Vixens in the latter’s debut bout, and then knocking off some very tough competition at the Quad City Chaos (which was somewhat of a defacto Canadian championship). Wins over Vancouver and traditional rivals Hamilton placed Toronto second in the tournament behind Montreal’s New Skids on the Block. With ToRD’s regular season in full swing this summer, CN Power played only sparingly and with inconsistent lineups, suffering consecutive losses to Queen City (Buffalo) and Garden State (New Jersey) to even up their 2010 record at 3-3.
It’s not hard to tell these two teams apart when they are on the track; they are models of the dueling styles of play in twenty-first century roller derby. The Tri-City Thunder are a gritty, defensive team that favours a pronounced, pack-isolation and trap style of roller derby. They have dismantled teams’ offenses in 2010, frustrating opponents as their packs stick together like velcro. This is a team that likes to control the pace and formation of the pack, and because of this emphasis on strategic pack play, can be absolutely devastating on power jams.
CN Power, on the other hand, prefers a more old school, hit-and-run style offense that highlights the speed and agility of its jammers. This team prefers to keep things moving, and a fast, stretched pack plays into the team’s strengths. Big hits, disruptive positional blocking and jammers searching for holes more than help typifies CN Power’s offense. But this team can play defense too, and has the experience and awareness to know when to take off or to keep it tight.
Led by chief pivots Jill Standing and Greta Garbage, the Thunder’s pack work has defined this team. The workhorse trio of Anita Martini, sin-e-star and Barleigh Legal lead a very strong, positional group of blockers which has often stifled its competition this year. But, word on the track is that Barleigh Legal is done for 2010, which leaves a huge gap that will have to be filled by one of the strong group of blockers that fill out this lineup, including Gunmoll Mindy, Stacie Jones and Lillith No Fair. To counteract Thunder’s strong pack play, CN Power will look to engage in one-on-one battles where they have a chance of disrupting their opponent’s isolation and pace strategies. The experienced pivots of CN Power (Rebel Rock-It, Brim Stone and Tara Part) will look to engage and lure the opposing pivots to keep the pack loose and fast. Taking the physicality up a notch could also be in Toronto’s playbook. Although not without strong positional blockers like Lady Scorcher, the quartet of Nasher the Smasher, Mega Bouche, Jubilee and Lady Gagya fill out a very hard-hitting pack that could flourish without Bareleigh Legal there to police the track for the Tri-City.
This form of pack disorganization could play into CN Power’s favour due to the strength and depth of its jammers. The lead attack of Defecaitlin (AKA: Dust Bunny), Land Shark, Lunchbox and Candy Crossbones is a fearsome offensive foursome: fast, strong, and most importantly, experienced. Not that Tri-City doesn’t have its own impressive group of jammers. Cell Block Bettie has emerged as a force with the star in 2010, Skate Pastor, Kitty Krasher, and Motorhead Molly provide quickness and agility, and the steadiness of Lippy Wrongstockings rounds out an impressive jammer lineup as well. But CN Power may have the advantage in depth, and a balanced attack. Along with their top four, triple threats Dyna Hurtcha and Betty Bomber provide a physical alternative on the attack that the Thunder might not be able to match.
This bout will be a study in contrasts, and, as such, the team capable of imposing its style of play will have the clear advantage. A strategic, defensive pack-battle would favour the Thunder, while a high-paced, physical, hit-and-run style derby would certainly favour CN Power.
The only shared opponent this year was Buffalo’s Lake Effect Furies (a recently promoted WFTDA league), and the two matches highlight the differing styles of play. Thunder’s defense had its way with the Furies, whose frustrated offense could muster only 51 points. In contrast, Buffalo’s bout in Toronto later in the summer was a high speed, offensive show down (which, unfortunately for Toronto was exactly what the Furies wanted). The ability to impose the style of play will be the story of the night in this first of what will undoubtedly be many matchups between these two Southern Ontario powerhouses.