TEAM STATS (2011 Regular Season)
Given the history between these two teams (including a split of two games at the 2011 Beast of the East), the way in which the Chicks Ahoy! so easily handled the Death Track Dolls in the final bout of the season came as a great surprise to many. The question hanging over this upcoming semi-final is how will the Dolls respond? Will we see the focused and determined Dolls who outlasted 13 other teams to finish 3rdat the BOE tournament? Or will it be the unfocused, frustrated Dolls that the Chicks walked all over in the final bout of the regular season?
It’s been that kind of season for the Dolls. Opening with a lacklustre (though not terrible) performance against the defending champion Gore-Gore Rollergirls, the Dolls rallied and put together a textbook win against the Smoke City Betties to even up their record 1-1. One clear problem was arising though, and that was consistency. There’d been moments of brilliance against the Gores (a late first-half pushback saw them dominating the packs) that couldn’t be maintained, and lapses against Betties that allowed their opponents to get back into the game. It has become clear that remaining mentally focused and putting together a consistent sixty minutes will be key if the Dolls want to have a shot (this could also explain why they did so well at the BOE where the short games meant streaky play and quick bursts were rewarded). The setbacks were a disappointment for a team that has shown only steady growth over the previous two seasons. They’ll need a season-best performance if they hope to qualify for their first ever Battle for the Boot.
The Chicks Ahoy!, on the other hand, have surpassed all expectations in 2011. With a new-look lineup (including a rookie bench boss in Flyin’ Bryan Killman) making up the team that was humbled in the 2010 Battle for the Boot, the Chicks came out flying in a dominant performance against the Betties to open the season. They would maintain that momentum in their rematch against the Gores, when the two teams put together as exciting a half of roller derby that has been seen in ToRD in at least a year. But the Chicks couldn’t hold the momentum and drifted late in the bout. But they were undeterred by the loss and after putting together their finest performance ever at the BOE (4thplace), came out and wiped the track with the Dolls to close out the regular season. That victory, in which they controlled play from start to finish, has got to provide a boost of confidence for the Chicks who are looking for
their fourth spot in the championship in five years.
Chicks Ahoy!: Nasher the Smasher has always been one of ToRD’s most feared blockers, but there was always that one issue that hung over her: lack of discipline. In 2011, Nasher has overhauled her game, still capable of devastating strikes (she was second on the Chicks in blocks and knockdowns), she has become a much more positional force on the track, and—most importantly—has completely done away with the discipline issues that dogged her early in her career recording only 2 majors and 1 (!) minor over the course of the season (despite being on the track for 54% of her team’s jams). Another player who has stepped up in a big way in 2011 is a 2010 rookie standout, Marmighty. The sophomore star matched Nasher’s 54% jam percentage (second to only Rebel Rock-It on the team) and put up an unbelievable plus/minus of 147. Although she ran into some penalty trouble against the Dolls, she was such a dominant force in that bout that this only really stood out on the stat sheet.
Death Track Dolls: Since the retirement of Mach Wheels, Betty Bomber has emerged as the most effective triple threat in ToRD, and her value to the Dolls cannot be overstated. She almost single-handedly kept her team in the final regular season game against the Chicks. If she wasn’t so valuable in the pack, Bomber would undoubtedly be one of the top jammers in the league. Second, the blocking combination of Jubilee and Panty Hoser. The Chicks have an incredibly deep pack, and for the Dolls to have any sort of chance in this one, they are going to need their best pack players to step up and be at their best. When their heads are in the game, Hoser and Jubilee are two of the best in the league, their work one-on-one is outstanding and they were first or second in virtually every major blocking stat for the Dolls this season. The mental focus of the team seems to run through these two players, and they will need to be at their best to counteract the depth of the Chicks.
Rookie Showdown: Finally, one of the interesting stories of the bout will be the jammer battles between a few rookies, the Dolls’ Santilly In Yo Face and the Chicks’ Kookie Doe. With Dolls jammer Land Shark returning to the lineup, the first lines of offense are virtually even, which means that it could come down to which of these rookies is capable of providing more depth on offense for her team. While Kookie Doe has clocked a lot more track time this season, Santilly has a slight lead in lead % (47% to 38%) and they are statistically even in points per jam. The one difference could be that Santilly was destroyed by the Chicks’ blockers in the last bout and will have to mentally put that behind her entering the playoffs.
**The bout will be broadcast by Rogers TV. Keep an eye out for dates and times.