WFTDA and House League Showdowns in Toronto and Ottawa This Weekend

Both Rideau Valley’s Vixens and Toronto’s CN Power will have opportunities to confirm their rankings against less-ranked competition, while in house league competition, ToRD’s defending champs, The Death Track Dolls, have an opportunity to put a strangle hold on the regular season standings, and in Ottawa, the Riot Squad will take on the Prime Sinisters in their first-ever regular season meeting.

Toronto Roller Derby Hosts Brandywine

ToRD_May-24-2014-Poster-Preview_RS_041614A double header in Toronto will kick off with a key showdown between ToRD’s Chicks Ahoy! (currently 1-1 and tied for second in the standings) and the Death Track Dolls (2-0, in top spot).

The Dolls have looked every bit the defending champs so far this season with surprisingly one-sided wins over the Gore-Gore Rollergirls, and more recently, the Smoke City Betties. The key to the season so far has been the ability to maintain form despite a fairly significant roster overhaul. Their offense, for example, has been built around skaters with mixed levels of experience (Sleeper Hold and Devochka are first-year Dolls, while Bellefast and Getcha Kicks have been the steadying forces for the team).

However, some rifts began to show in the Dolls’ seeming invincibility. At last month’s Beast of the East tournament in Montreal, the team looked vulnerable at times in a closer-than-expected win over Royals City’s Killer Queens and then couldn’t summon the focus or intensity in a loss to Montreal’s La Racaille. But despite missing some vets (including injured co-captain Getcha Kicks), the Dolls still have the depth to pull it off.

The Chicks have slowly gotten better as this season has progressed, and have a surprising depth that has taken some time to gel. It all seemed to have come together by late in their last ToRD game, when it took a late game comeback to overcome the Smoke City Betties by 20 points. The team already looked far different from the one that had struggled defensively against the Gores in January to kick off the season. The resurgence has been led by a development of a supporting cast around last year’s team leaders. They made some strong jammer draft picks (Sneaky Dee and Hyena Koffinkat) and found some veteran depth in the pack from a returning Rebel Rock-It and converted blocker Rosemary’s Rabies.

The Chicks didn’t play in this year’s Beast of the East, so they have not played a competitive game since that March victory over the Betties. It remains to be seen what impact this has on the team, but they have had some competitive scrimmages since then. As with the Dolls, they too will be missing some key players. You have to look back almost two years to June 9th 2012 to see the last time the Dolls lost a game in ToRD. It was, notably, against the Chicks.

The night will cap off with CN Power (23rd in the WFTDA) hosting the Brandywine Roller Girls (47th, out of Pennsylvania). Toronto has improved its record to 4-9 on the season after picking up back-to-back victories over Jet City and Cincinnati to snap a nine-game losing streak. It should be a favourable matchup for Toronto against a team that seems to have cooled down a bit after a scorching close to the 2013 season.

Brandywine is 5-1 on the season, but has had only so-so performances in wins against 90th ranked Charlotte (a 26-point win) and 66th ranked Green Mountain (34 points). Their one loss was a 103-point loss to Nashville. Toronto’s losing streak had a lot to do with the quality of their opponents who included 3rd ranked London, 8th ranked Rocky Mountain and 12th ranked Montreal. So the quality of opponent cannot be overlooked. However, they did get upset by Detroit (41st) and seemed to have already lost a step on Montreal, whom they have faced twice, and will need to use these last two wins as momentum builders.

While Toronto and Brandywine don’t have any common opponents this season, the last time Brandywine ventured north of the border, the team upset Tri-City 165-153. Last weekend Tri-City and Toronto both played Jet City, with the Thunder losing by 30 and CN Power winning by 149.

Rideau Valley Roller Girls Host Roc City

April6-Sirens-vs-DRRD_Rockland_Poster-LegalRideau Valley Roller Girls will be hosting a double header in Kanata this weekend as well with the same home-teams / travel-teams structure. The only difference being that many of the Rideau Valley skaters will be pulling double duty as members of the Vixens are sprinkled all through the rosters of the Prime Sinisters and the Riot Squad.

This will be the first ever meeting between these two teams, and the first regular season game for the Riot Squad in 2014 (the Prime Sinisters opened the season with a 158-130 win over the Slaughter Daughters). This season, Rideau Valley reshuffled its two home team rosters into three teams, and the effects are already showing. Both of these teams made it through to the quarterfinals at last month’s Beast of the East with the Riot Squad eventually finishing 4th. Both teams are loaded with talent with the Riot Squad led in the pack by veterans Hannah Murphy, Sister Disaster and Da Big Block, and on the jammer line by Amanda Pummeler and first-year transfer BLackeyE. The Prime Sinisters, meanwhile, are also built around a solid veteran core of Brennan, Margaret Choke, Rudolph, and Drunky Brewster in the pack with double threat Pix E. Cutz and CarnEDGE as their most experienced jammers. Both teams, though, are also deep in less experienced talent. It could be that bench depth that decides this game.

The night will end with the Vixens (64th in the WFTDA) facing off against their old rivals from Rochester, New York, the Roc City Roc Stars (84th). It’s been nearly two years since these two teams met with Roc City taking that one by 45 points (186-141). However, that was the Vixens’ second ever WFTDA game and they have rocketed past Roc City since then. They are currently 2-0 on the season (3-0 counting a regulation win against the Misfit Militia) and are coming off of a road win against Maine. Roc City has been much busier so far this season, going 2-3 so far, with wins over Ithaca and that same Maine team the Vixens defeated. The differential only slightly favours the Vixens (32-point win vs. 23-point win), but with home court advantage, the Vixens should have the edge.

***Skaters and fans in Ottawa, I will also be appearing as D.D. Miller at the Carleton Tavern on Friday night (details here) to promote my first book of fiction.

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