For the first time in a season that has seen the team surge forward, ToRD’s CN Power suffered a setback: playing their first game in months, the team was overwhelmed by an aggressive Grand Raggidy All Stars who emerged from a tight start to the game with a flurry and pulled ahead early and held on throughout, never relinquishing the lead once they picked it up at the six-minutre mark. However, ToRD’s B-team, the Bay Street Bruisers, ensured that Toronto would not go home without a win when they took down Grand Raggidy’s B-team, G-Rap Attack, in the first part of the double header in Grand Rapids this weekend. The games finished, remarkably, with almost identical scores, as the Bruisers took down the Attack 162-80, while the host Grand Raggidy finished the evening with a 167-80 win, a victory that ended a five-game losing streak for the team.
Bay Street Bruisers 162 vs. G-Rap Attack 80
The B-teams kicked off the double header in a fairly fast-paced game. The hosts took the opening lead jammer status and outscored the Bruisers 4-1 in the opening jam. The Bruisers then put up 21 consecutive points in three jams to open up a 22-4 lead five minutes in to the game. With an attack paced by Getcha Kicks, titmouse and Tomy Knockers, and packs led by Canadian Psycho and Speedin Hawking, the Bruisers went on streaks in the first half to pull away, with only a late Attack 10-point power jam keeping the hosts in the game as the visitors led 73-29 at the half.
Despite losing debut skater Scarcasm early in the second half (she had a fantastic first half in the pack and was being used as a reserve jammer as well), knocking the Bruisers’ already short-handed roster down to twelve, the team looked unfazed and got out to a solid start to the second. The Attack adjusted to the Bruisers’ play, and were able to mount a comeback midway through the final period, taking advantage of some Bruisers’ penalty trouble to pull within 31 points at the 16-minute mark of the second. But the Bruisers weathered the storm and, when back at full strength, were able to put the game away with a late 20-point power jam. Subsequent penalty troubles ended the hopes for the home team as the Bruisers consistent play secured them the 82-point victory.
CN Power 80 vs. Grand Raggidy All Stars 167
The A-team showdown started as expected: tight. Five minutes in and the teams were deadlocked at 4-4, with neither team looking as if they were going to be able to wrestle control from the other, but back-to-back pick-ups of five points (on natural grand slams) had Grand Raggidy slip ahead. CN Power quickly responded with a three-and-out from Kookie Doe (who followed up her ECDX breakout with yet another strong performance—leading CN Power in scoring and lead percentage). Aside from Kookie Doe, the Toronto jammers were not having any luck in the early going, constantly finding themselves behind seemingly unbreakable walls. Kookie picked up her third lead in a row at the sixteen-minute point, but couldn’t get any points on the board as Grand Raggidy continued to stretch the lead to 38-10.
The aggressive play of Grand Raggidy kept the CN Power packs loose and stretched, and the Toronto blockers often found themselves left to duel one-one-one with Grand Raggidy’s solid jammers (a rotation led in this game by standout performances from Shotgun Shell and Lucy Morals). Grand Raggidy blocker Garden Ho was another thorn in Toronto’s side, delivering constant positional pains and laying solid jammer take outs (often able to recycle the opposing jammer to the back of the pack consistently). Compounding their own problems, a Toronto jammer entered the track without her helmet cover, giving Grand Rapids a free(non-penalty) power jam that they took advantage of. The host team led 77-27 at the half.
Grand Raggidy continued the physical play to kick off the second half. Jammer Viva La Boom offered a physical component to the offense and was able to fight her way through Toronto walls. The hosts outscored the visitors 22-5 over the opening five minutes of the second half to pull ahead considerably, yet, to CN Power’s credit, they didn’t give up the fight, and they were not afraid to experiment. Putting Candy Crossbones in the pack, freeing up CN Power rookie Bala Reina to jam, was a successful shift as both put up solid performances: Bala nabbed a 13-point jam at the midway point of the second that set off a series of four-straight lead jammer statuses that unfortunately didn’t amount to many points, and Grand Raggidy’s lead was never in doubt in the second half as they cruised to a 167-80 victory.
In the end, It was the strong pack work from pivots (which included Ultra Fox, Freak’NC, Lindsay Blowhan) right on down to the blockers (Garden Ho was consistent all game) that made the difference in this one. It was a much needed win for Grand Raggidy who had seen their WFTDA ranking drop considerably this season (11th to 14th), while it could end up being little more than a blip on the ascendance for Toronto’s A-level travel team: with key skaters sidelined and a lack of late-season games, the rust was evident, yet the team should have no trouble bouncing back from the loss, and, at the very least, the game offered a perfect competitive training ground for the emerging Kookie Doe and new comer Bala Reina who look like key components of the team’s future offence.
**This marks the end of ToRD’s 2012 season; despite the fact that Toronto and a lot of other Canadian leagues are wrapping things up for the season, stay tuned to the Nerd this fall for the upcoming final power rankings of the year, a series of year-in-review articles, one more Off the Beaten Track, and, of course, coverage of this weekend’s WFTDA Championship.