The semifinal matchup that everyone seems to be have been talking about (and maybe even hoping for) all season is finally upon us. The last two meetings between the Death Track Dolls and the Chicks Ahoy! were classics, with the Chicks managing to squeak out both victories. Expectations for each team were high high leading into 2010, but they both got off to sluggish starts. Each team improved as the season went on, and after strong ends to the season, seem to peaking at just the right time.
Year in Review: Death Track Dolls
After two up-and-down seasons with a slowly shifting lineup, 2009’s off season saw a further shakeup of the Dolls’ lineup including the departures of key players (and both captains). With new captains, a fresh presence behind the bench, a group of carefully selected rookies and a solid core of veterans and second-year players, the Dolls entered 2010 riding the same high that they’d skated out of 2009 on.
A shaky, two-loss performance at the Beast of the East represented a period of adjustment, and by the time the team rolled into Tri-City for an exhibition bout against the Venus Fly Tramps, the Dolls’ were showing signs of coming together and pulled off a solid victory. With the echoes of 2009’s tension-filled classic still lingering in The Hangar, the Dolls and Chicks delivered another in their season opener, only this time the Dolls were the aggressors who couldn’t hold the lead in the second half. Nonetheless, it was a solid, confidence-boosting performance that inspired them to a dominant victory against the Smoke City Betties. They closed out the regular season with a hard- fought loss to the defending champion Gore-Gore Rollergirls, a bout they lead for much of the first half.
The Doll’s steady improvement can be attributed to the skaters growing into their specific roles. Joining steady veterans Monichrome and Dolly Parts’em with the stripe, Panty Hoser has had a fantastic season pivoting the ever-improving Doll’s pack; and it’s a pack gathering strength, anchored by strong positional blocking from vets Lucid Lou, Bonky Kong, and complemented by sophomore Downright Dirty Dawson and rookie Speedin Hawking. Jubilee, Seka Destroy and Audrey Hellborn provide a deep contingent of heavy-hitting strikers. Land Shark is the only remaining natural jammer from the original 2009 lineup, but Demolition Dawn stepped up to take some of the load, and rookie SlamWow has begun her apprenticeship. The Dolls’ triple threat Betty Bomber fills out the lineup, and is in the midst of a career season.
Strategically minded Sonic Doom joined The Big Chees behind the bench this season, and the two have worked well together to create a team that not only seems ready to compete now, but in the seasons to come as well.
(Current Rollergirl.ca ranking: 17th among hometeams, 29th overall)
Death Track Dolls 29 vs. Derby Debutantes (GTAR) 38 (@ Montreal/ Beast of the East)
Death Track Dolls 101 vs. Venus Fly Tramps 89 (TCRG) (@ Tri-City)
Death Track Dolls 109 vs. Chicks Ahoy! 121 (ToRD regular season)
Death Track Dolls 213 vs. Smoke City Betties 53 (ToRD regular season)
Death Track Dolls 54 vs. Gore-Gore Rollergirls 133 (ToRD regular season)
2010 ToRD Record: 1-2
2010 Exhibition Record: 1-2
The Chicks followed their 2008 championship with a 2009 season that saw them two points away from slipping all the way to fourth. Believing that a return to contention was possible, the Chicks retained the core of that championship team, filling out their lineup with a few veterans and drafting only one rookie. Experienced, focused after a disappointing season, the Chicks entered 2010 with only one goal: a return to the finals.
As with the Dolls, the Chicks got off to a shaky start at the Beast of the East as well, going 1-2 and bowing out in the first round. Another pre-season loss to Tri-City’s Vicious Dishes, in which they looked disorganized and out-strategized, seemed to galvanize the team. They opened their regular season with a stunning, come-from-behind victory over the Dolls before looking flat in a loss against their traditional rivals, the Gores. Then, in their final bout of the regular season, the Chicks finally pulled it all together and delivered one of the most dominant performances in ToRD’s history with a 244 point victory over a much-improved Smoke City Betties.
A big key to that victory was the solid strategic play of the pack. The Chicks have a deep and diverse group of pivots with Rebel Rock-It and Hoff leading the way positionally, Nasher the Smasher is capable of physically dominating a bout. Any number of other blockers on this veteran lineup are capable of taking on the role as well, from Mega Bouche, Humdinger, Fireweed to sole rookie, Marmighty. The smooth-skating Mach Wheels is also more than capable of dominating a pack, but this season saw her return to dominance with the star, posting huge jammer numbers in the opening two bouts of the season. Candy Crossbones picked up where Mach Wheels left off late in the season, and Kari Mia-Beere continues to grow into her role as one of the team’s go-to jammers. The late-season return of triple threat Dyna Hurtcha only adds to the depth of this team.
Inspirationally, not enough can be said about the return of Tara Part to the lineup. It hasn’t taken her long to ingratiate herself back into a key role for this team, and she will certainly be a factor in the bout against the Dolls. With so many players at the peaks of their careers, this is a key opportunity for the Chicks to compete for another championship.
(Current Rollergirl.ca ranking: 11th among hometeams, 22nd overall)
Chicks Ahoy! 12 vs. La Racaille (MTLRD) 81 (@ Montreal/Beast of the East)
Chicks Ahoy! 89 vs. Smoke City Betties (ToRD) 15 (@ Montreal/ Beast of the East)
Chicks Ahoy! 63 vs. Vicious Dishes (TCRG) 121 (@ Tri-City)
Chicks Ahoy!121 vs. Death Track Dolls 109 (ToRD regular season)
Chicks Ahoy! 80 vs. Gore-Gore Rollergirls 124 (ToRD regular season)
Chicks Ahoy! 266 vs. Smoke City Betties 42 (ToRD regular season)
2010 ToRD Regular Season: 2-1
2010 Exhibition Record: 1-3
WHAT TO EXPECT
Two season’s in the making, this bout promises to be one of the most thrilling of the season. Expect what the last matchups between these two teams delivered: a close, epic, hard-hitting bout. Watch for the Dolls to attempt to frustrate the Chicks and lure them into one-on-one encounters; while the Chicks will undoubtedly look to control things in the pack always vigilant for that big jammer take out. Discipline will be key as penalties and power jams have been the difference in the last two bouts. The experience of the Chicks is a huge advantage in this pressure-packed situation. While many of the Chicks have won (and lost) championships, a few Dolls veterans won their first-ever bouts this season. Success is something new to the Dolls; the Chicks are looking to regain it.
Read the recap of this season’s bout between the two teams here. Also, take a look at ToRD TV’s forward-looking recap: (edited by Tiffany Beaudin).