This Saturday night, Toronto Roller Derby’s two travel teams will host a double header to close out what has been a remarkable, expectation-busting season. CN Power will welcome rivals Grand Raggidy Roller Girls (Grand Rapids, Michigan), a team they have squared off against on two separate occasions and have yet to beat. The Bay Street Bruisers will also be facing a stiff challenge as they host Alliston’s Misfit Militia, an independent team that has been turning heads with an impressive string of wins that has left its opponents decimated. It will be a challenging, high-paced night of flat track roller derby featuring two explosive bouts to close out the 2013 ToRD season.
CN Power vs. Grand Raggidy All Stars
The Toronto Grand Raggidy matchup is a slow brewing rivalry that dates back to October 2011. Back in October 2011, things were much different for ToRD. Having just months before finished their WFTDA Apprenticeship, CN Power was embarking on its first ever WFTDA road trip, and they headed to Grand Rapids to kick things off. At the time, their opponents were ranked well above them (they’d just finished 11th in the North Central Region, narrowly missing the 2011 playoffs). At the time, the 148-68 loss was seen as a confidence-boosting performance. Fast forward one year (almost to the day) and CN Power once again rode into Grand Rapids, only this time, after an incredibly successful first WFTDA season, it was Toronto who was higher ranked (13th to 14th). Once again though, the home team controlled almost the entirety of the game, surprising Toronto with the 167-80 victory.
Toronto’s CN Power is hoping that the third time will be a charm.
Both teams had very similar regular season. CN Power finished the 2013 regular season with a 6-6 record in sanctioned play (7-6 overall) to qualify for their first ever WFTDA playoffs (entering their division ranked last—10th—and 39th overall). Grand Raggidy went 3-6 on the regular season (4-6 overall) and also entered their division playoffs ranked 10th, 40th overall in the WFTDA). Once they got to the playoffs though, everything changed.
Grand Rapids got clobbered in their opening games of the playoffs, deconstructed in one-sided losses to Wasatch (Salt Lake City) and Rose City (Portland) before managing a narrow upset over Bloomington, Indiana’s, Bleeding Heartland to move up one spot to 9th in their division, but they still slid all the way down to 52nd in the overall rankings.
CN Power, on the other hand, tore through their division, notching major upsets over Sacred City (Sacramento) (215-90) and Boston, (204-198) while falling narrowly to mighty Atlanta (219-171) and then tumbling in an international showdown against Melbourne’s Victorian Roller Derby (208-124) to finish a surprising 6th in their division and also leap up to 32nd overall in the WFTDA.
While these two teams have been neck and neck over the past two seasons, it would seem after this year’s impressive playoffs, that Toronto has pulled ahead. The team, and the league supporting it, has rounded into a finely tuned competitive machine, currently competing at the top of its game. CN Power has home track advantage to show just that.
PLAYOFF PERFORMERS: By The Numbers
Taking a look at the stats from the recently completed WFTDA playoffs can tell us a lot about what to expect.
Both Toronto and Grand Rapids have a fairly set four-jammer rotation, and while both have capable back ups outside of this foursome, expect to see similar rotations as those seen in the playoffs. Ultra Fox and Lucy Morals each played 26% of her team’s jams in the playoffs, followed closely behind by Shotgun Shell (21%) and Mona Vaydid (13%) (Xtreme Tac was the most used reserve jammer). Ultra Fox was a handful in the playoffs, registering an impressive 61% lead percentage despite the two lopsided losses. She also led the team in scoring with 114 points (3.5 points per jam) and was the only jammer to record a plus/minus less than -100 (-23). Lucy Morals was second in scoring with 93 points (2.8 PPJ). Mona Vaydid registered a 44% lead percentage.
Toronto’s four-jammer rotation was led by Bambi and Bala Reina who both had impressive playoffs. Although she’s had some trouble against Grand Rapids in the past, Bambi was extraordinary in Divisionals and is primed to exact some revenge. She jammed in 28% of CN Power’s jams, scoring 258 points (5.5 PPJ), recorded a 49% lead percentage and finished at +131. Bala wasn’t quite as consistent, but also scored over 200 points (202 on 5.3 PPJ) and recorded a 45% lead percentage. Dusty (126 PTS, 3.8 PPJ, 33% lead percentage) and Motorhead Molly (59, 1.69, 37%) round out the rotation.
In the pack, Grand Raggidy played with a much longer bench during the playoffs with five skaters skating over 40% of their team’s jams and eight skating at least 33% of their team’s jams. Bette Mangler and Ringo Deathstarr led the way in terms of track time followed closely by Garden Ho and Lindsay Blowhan.
Toronto rode Nasher the Smasher more than any other blocker (and maybe played more than any skater in the tournament), as she appeared in a truly remarkable 80% of CN Power’s jams during the playoffs and finished at +29 (this despite registering a -105 plus/minus in the loss to Victorian). Bruiseberry Pie (57%) and Dyna Hurtcha (55%) also put in a lot of track time, and Renny Rumble (49%) and Jubilee (46%) were not far behind. Jubilee finished the tournament with an outstanding +104 to easily lead the team.
One number to watch out for is the number of penalties, particularly to the top blockers. Grand Rapids had three skaters register at least a .20 PMJ (penalty minutes per jam): Nnegratron (.26), Garden Ho (.21) and Freakn’C (.20). Similarly, Dyna Hurtcha (.26) Bruiseberry Pie (.21) and Jubilee (.19) also ran into some penalty trouble. Keeping these key blockers on the track will be essential for each team.
Bay Street Bruisers vs. Misfit Militia
The only previous meeting between ToRD’s Bay Street Bruisers and the Misfit Militia was a thrilling, come from behind 10-point win (140-130) for the Bruisers in the semifinals of the 2012 RDAC Eastern Canadian Championship in Guelph last summer. It’s been quite a journey for both teams since then.
Currently 8-1 this season, the Bruisers have continued to build off of the success from 2012. They have risen into the Top 10 in Rollergirl.ca’s Canadian Rankings, and have proven to be the top B-level travel team in the nation. Their lone loss this season was to an incredibly talented Slaughter Daughters team from Rideau Valley, stacked full with their league’s top players. Despite being overmatched individually in that game, the Bruisers stayed with their opponents, losing by only 20 points. Since then, the’ve won three in a row including victories over Tri-City champs the TKOs and Montreal’s Sexpos. They currently sit at 8th in the Canadian rankings.
It’s been an interesting year for Misfit Militia. Separating from their home league in Alliston, the Militia have been destroying their opposition since being reborn as an independent team in June. During the five-game winning streak, they have absolutely dominated their opponents, winning by an average of 371 points while outscoring their opposition 2109-255. This has seen them tear up the rankings to 6th overall, where they currently sit.
Both teams would love to end their seasons strong. For the Misfit Militia this game provides an opportunity to ensure and secure their impressive ranking among the best in Canada (they also sit 8th in the Canadian Power Rankings), while for the Bruisers, this game presents an opportunity for the B-team to climb even higher that they already sit. The winners will need to be at their utmost best.
**For those outside of the province, the game will be boutcast live by the ToRD.TV crew in partnership with Canuck Derby TV. Local audiences should stay tuned to Rogers TV for rebroadcasts of the double header.