Toronto Roller Derby closed out its home season by picking up both victories in a double-header rematch this weekend against the Royal City Roller Girls. The Bay Street Bruisers closed out the night by picking up their fifth-straight victory, and second over the Brute-Leggers in that run, with a 228 point win (271-43) that built off of a much tighter one in Guelph this past June; the night began with the D-VAS avenging a heartbreaking loss to the Top Herloins at the Fresh and Furious tournament this summer by hammering the Guelph freshmen by 153 points (258-105), marking the second straight game that ToRD’s farm team scored a victory over a team that had beat them earlier in the season.
The D-Vas kicked off the night with their final game of the season, and the final game of an era. The core of these skaters have been together for 18 months and have finally come to the end of their apprenticeship. The upcoming ToRD draft will be the largest yet for the league, and will see virtually all of the D-VAS drafted and dispersed across the four house-league teams. The emotion behind the event was obvious in the way the team performed.
Since a split-squad, Black vs. Red game kicked off ToRD’s home seasonin February, the D-VAS have grown individually and as a team immensely, as evidenced by their increased success as the year has gone on. More experienced mid-season transfers also raised the competitive level of the team and helped expedite the development of the skaters. This game also marked the final opportunity for these skaters to make an impression on those home teams before the draft, and many skaters took hold of the opportunity and left big impressions.
The D-VAS stormed out of the gates and were up 35-0 five minutes into the game. Lexi Con paced the offence and dominated both in the pack and with the star (a 20-point power jam late in the half helped the D-VAS pull away), and is just one example of the many skaters on this team who have grown exponentially and seem poised to breakout in a 2013 that looks primed for breakout stories. And it’s a similar story up and down t the lineup. LowBlow Palooza is another potential triple threat and was dominant defensively at times, while a confirmed pack leader in Purple Pain showed that she’s also capable of picking up the star when needed as well. Viktory Lapp is another skater who has shown she can shift roles, transitioning from a jammer early in the season to a more diverse skater, capable of pivoting packs. All were having big games on Saturday and led the Toronto up- and-comers to a 119-40 lead at half.
Not to say that the Top Herloins, runners up in the 2012 Fresh and Furious: GTA Drift tournament, didn’t have stand outs of their own. A handful of these first-year skaters were also playing for the A-team Brute-Leggers, and Forca and Babe Le Strange especially, would stand out for both teams, while De-Ice-Her had some strong defensive moments and Tundra Struck picked up the first lead for the Herloins (not coming until the 18-minute mark of the first half), and were able to put together a fairly consistent offense that managed to go on a few runs in the game.
One of those runs brought the Herloins back into competitive reach 134-71 in the second half, before a 19-point power jam skated by Purple Pain had the D-VAS back in front by a comfortable margin and the team cruised after that. Fittingly, Lexi Con—who has to be in the discussion of the top draft picks— nabbed the final lead of the game and was able to close out the 258-105 victory for her team.
The shift in the league structure that is giving all of these D-VAS an opportunity to be drafted, has also changed the role of the Bay Street Bruisers. Reborn in 2012 as a B-team and farm team for CN Power, now that the all stars are a distinct roster, the skaters on the Bruisers represent the top skaters in ToRD’s house league, even though not all of them are actually yet in that house league.
Tomy Knockers, Canadian Psycho and Getcha Kicks all made their debuts with the Bruisers this weekend, and the veteran transfers are also eligible for ToRD’s upcoming draft. All three put in a strong performance whether blocking (as with co-captain Canadian Psycho), jamming (Getcha Kicks), or both (Tomy Knockers), and undeniably made a strong impression. This is a new-look roster too, with nine skaters on the overall roster who weren’t part of the team when they played against the Brute-Leggers only four months ago. But having only two months together didn’t seem to bother the Bruisers as, like their counterparts earlier in the night, they got off to a quick start. With Bellefast and titmouse remaining as key cogs in the offence, the Bruisers were up 31-2 8 minutes in, a lead that had increased to 79-15 with 10 minutes left in the first half.
Not only were the Bruisers sporting a new line-up, The Chicks Ahoy!’s Flyin’ Bryan Killman also joined (disclaimer!) the Derby Nerd on the bench staff. This Bruisers team is tougher and a little more physical in its approach than it was before and this physicality seemed to keep the Royal City all stars off guard all night. Led by crushing pack work from the likes of new Bruiser Foxy Sinatra and returning Bruiser Speedin Halking, and despite a late first half push back from the BruteLegger, the Bruisers seemed in control at the half, leading 106-31.
Royal City got strong performances from its usual suspects, with Hellcat of Panar once again punching well above her weight, and offensively she was aided by Hot Cross Guns, while Kim Scarsmashian remains an important aspect of the pack and Goodbye Kitty was a thorn in the sides of the Bruisers all night. But this Brute-Leggers team is coming off of a long grueling season that has had mixed results. While the consistency may not always have been there, the experience gained during this busy season will certainly be key for the continued development of the Royal City travel team.
The Bruisers close out 2012 with a game against Grand Raggidy’s G-Rap Attack next weekend in Grand Rapids. They’ll be travelling with CN Power who will close out their WFTDA sanctioned season with showdown against the Grand Raggidy All Stars.