Coming off of impressive home wins against Killamazoo, Toronto Roller Derby’s CN Power and Bay Street Bruisers hit the road on the weekend for a double header in Fort Wayne, and both came away with impressive, message-sending victories. Two weeks ago at home, Toronto’s travel teams both won by remarkably similar amounts, and they did so again against Fort Wayne. Despite a packed Memorial Colliseum and a vocal partisan crowd, the visitors were unfazed and continue to look impressive as they build toward their first major showdowns of the season at next month’s Quad City Chaos.
In the opening game of the double header, the Bay Street Bruisers came out flying , going up 18-6 after two jams (despite giving up a very early power jam that the pack was able to fend off). Strong jamming and stifling pack defense had the Bruisers up significantly, 66-8 10 minutes in. Then the hometeam came storming back, and for almost ten minutes threatened to take control of the game. Slipping into penalty troubles (both in the pack and with jammers), the Bruisers gave up five lead jammer statuses in a row and suddenly the home team was within reach, 81-42. But the Bruisers switched gears, earning lead on 7 of the final 9 jams of the half, but more impressively locked down the defense, not allowing a single point over the final 10 minutes or so to lead 165-42 at the half.
This dominant run continued at the start of the second half as well as the Bruisers opened up with 5 of the first 6 leads and built an overwhelming 181-42 lead. But as it did in the first, things went awry near the midway point of the frame. The SWAT Team’s defense improved considerably as the game went on and they did not give up a significant power jam in the second half (on two occasions, the teams swapped jammer penalties), unfortunately for the home team, they couldn’t quite solve the Bruiser defense, and Toronto held on for the 145 point victory.
In the main event, Bomb Squad hosted CN Power almost a year to the day after their first meeting last year, a 13-point nailbiter that was in doubt almost the whole way through. What a difference a year can make.
A quiet end of season for Toronto (their only bout over the last few months of 2012 was a short-handed loss to Grand Rapids), meant that in terms of rankings (on flattrackstats and WTDA), these two teams were in very similar positions. But as they did against a slightly favoured Killamazoo two weeks ago at home, CN Power defied expectations and showed that in 2013, this is a focused and determined team, ready to climb the standings.
Fort Wayne got out first picking up a 2-0 jam by Adkins Riot with strong back-of-pack defense able to hold off Toronto co-captain Dusty (AKA Defecaitlin). But CN Power battened down the hatches and went on a 19-0 run before Adkins Riot once again was able to put up some points for Fort Wayne (this time on a 10-point power jam). It was back and forth early with the teams sharing 50% lead percentage and similar scores (23-17, Toronto) nearing the ten minute mark.
Then one jam turned the game around.
Despite continued punishing pack work from Fort Wayne’s phenomenal Enya Grave (who recently spent time playing for mighty Naptown), Toronto blocker twosome Dyna Hurtcha and Tara Part orchestrated a 24 point jam for Dusty that gave Toronto a 47-17 lead, part of a dominant 6-jam run in which the hosts were kept off the board. Fort Wayne’s Pink Painther finally got the home team back on track with a big 19 point power jam pick up that helped get the Bomb Squad back in it (within 14 points at the 20 minute mark of the half). But it was another well executed power jam, this time pivoted by co-captain Lady Gagya and jammed by Rebel Rock-It, that helped CN Power pull ahead significantly 126-48 at the half.
The impressive Memorial Coliseum was silenced by the beginning of the second half, and CN Power held steady in the half to maintain and slightly build their lead. Not to say that there weren’t moments of excellence from the hosts and some strong individual play from Enya Grave (who even took on the star in the second half), triple threat Adkins Riot, pivot Dodger L. Bows and the hard hitting Top Shelf (to name a few); but it was another well-balanced performance from CN Power, even more steady and consistent than their win against Killamazoo two weeks ago. The team continues to show impressive jammer depth (Bambi, Bala Reina, Dusty and Rebel Rock-It all looked comfortable on the track and brought their own unique style to the star, keeping the opposing defense off balance), and the pack work has been excellent, with Dyna Hurtcha and Tara Part, and then Betty Bomber and Nasher the Smasher, providing dynamic duos, with Lady Gagya continuing to show strong leadership as pivot.
By the 20 minute mark of the second half, CN Power was up 191-80, and never let up over the final 10 minutes (something that has happened to the team in the past) and ended the game on a Bambi-skated power jam to lift the team to an impressive 166-point victory.
On Sunday CN Power continued their road trip in Indianapolis against Naptown in a closed bout. While Toronto would drop this game 239-96, the score was actually better than predicted by flattrackstats.com, and allowed CN Power to continue its climb up the rankings. Although WFTDA has yet to release official rankings yet, Toronto has now climbed into the all-important Top 40 on flattrackstats.com (39th— within the potential Division 1 cut off). In rollergirl.ca’s Canadian rankings, CN Power is now ranked 3rd, having gained some distance on 4th ranked Tri-City, and now nipping at the coattails of Terminal City.