Toronto stomps Brandywine, while Rideau Valley held off Roc City in an important D2 battle with playoff implications. Meanwhile, the Dolls in ToRD and Riot Squad in RVRG both take strides toward their respective house league championships.
It was a busy weekend of derby all across the nation with Flat Track Fever dominating stories from the west and Ontario overwhelmed with derby in its WFTDA centres (non-sanctioned or house league matchups were happening in both Tri-City and Forest City on Saturday). But the key games were in Toronto and Ottawa, which featured mirroring house league/WFTDA double headers.
Rideau Valley Hosts Roc City
With a five-spot jump in the last WFTDA rankings, the Rideau Valley Vixens found themselves ranked 64th (24th in Division 2) and on the cusp of the 20-team D2 playoffs. Coming off of an impressive win over 72nd Maine last weekend, the Vixens knew that they would need a convincing win over their Rochester rivals if they were to make that final leap forward. And an impressive performance they got, riding two hot jammers and the usual relentless pack work you’ve come to expect to pull of the 199-116 victory.
The Vixens jumped out to a 4-0 start on the back of a quick lead pick up from breakout jammer Shania Pain. While the Roc Stars were able to get right back into it on the next jam with a Kell’d on Impact 4-pointer, the hosts took the lead on Jam 3, built that lead to 21-6 by the five minute mark of the first, and never looked back after that.
The Vixens, known traditionally for running a short bench, have now even tightened up the jammer rotation in their quest for a first WFTDA playoff berth, and it’s a roster that would be more than qualified to play in the D-2 event. Using only two jammers (blocker Brennan would skate two jams in relief—and would pick up 18 points in those two jams) the Vixens rode Shania Pain and Soul Rekker for the whole game, an impressive feat of endurance from the two jammers. Rekker’s endurance and skill is no secret to fans of Canadian roller derby: a skater on Team Canada 2011 and currently on the roster of Team Ontario, Rekker will return to the World Cup in 2014, and picked up 35 points in the opening half on Saturday night.
Shania Pain, on the other hand, is probably under a lot of people’s radars. She won’t be for long. A potential game-changer for Rideau Valley, Shania Pain is one of a young generation of uber-athletic jammers who are taking the game by storm out east and giving a glimpse of what the future of the sport will look like in these parts (Montreal’s Miracle Whips and Toronto’s Rainbow Fight are also in that category). She led all scorers with 45 at the half, and just seemed to be getting warmed up.
Roc City is a team whose fortunes have ebbed and flowed, and this loss will further distance them from a coveted playoff spot. Led by a core of vets, the team lacks the depth of Rideau Valley and the other potential playoff teams. Nonetheless, they are a scrappy, emotional team that seems to play in surges. The offense was paced by veteran Asa Clubs (who had 39 points at the half) and Kell’d on Impact (28 pts at half), while captain Natasha Musquasha led a solid group of pack skaters that featured the feisty Jacky Spades, the hard-hitting Roxy D. Sniper, Jojo Thrasher and eventual MVP Terminal Trend.
With about five minutes left in the opening half, Rideau Valley looked to be on the verge of running away with it, but a 22-9 run over the final minutes had the visitors back in it, down 25 (98-73).
The Rideau Valley packs were led by the usual suspects, with Team Canada’s Hannah Murphy continuing to lead the way. But the tenaciousness of Sister Disaster (who had some of the biggest hits on the night) and Bottema (who always seemed to the be the last line of defense) and the positional excellence of Brennan and Margaret Choke contribute so much to the front-line strength of the team. But the base of the team is growing. After missing much of last season, Rudolph has returned with a vengeance and Kiki Von Carnage and Restless Rose provide depth as they emerge as front-line players. Finally, transfer BLackeyE seems to have found the perfect derby fit after stints in Kingston and Toronto and is playing the best derby of her career.
The Vixens essentially put the game away over the opening ten-minute stretch of the second half. They outscored the Roc Stars 30-12 over the initial five, and then 12-0 over the next to secure a formidable 140-80 lead. While back-to-back power jams at the midway point would allow Roc City a bit of a resurgence (almost halving the lead), once the Vixens righted the ship, they were able to rebuild the gap, shutting out the visitors over the last five minutes of the game (and scoring 32 of their own) to secure the 199-116 win.
The night opened with a very important houseleague showdown between traditional RVRG home team, the Riot Squad, facing off against its first-year counterpart, the Prime Sinisters. 2014 is the first season that Rideau Valley has organized a full regular season and championship, adding a third home team (and completely reshuffling the rosters of all three teams) to accommodate the new structure. The Sinisters opened the season with a 158-130 win over the Slaughter Daughters and were looking to stay undefeated.
The Riot Squad is lead by a strong core of vets including Hannah Murphy and Sister Disaster, but have a bench defined by depth. BLackeyE, Restless Rose, Kiki Von Carnage, and eventual blocker MVP Acute Bruiser led the charge for the team. The offense was paced by vet Amanda Pummeler and supported by Unita Bruisin and Savage Mind (with double threat Restless Rose offering relief). While things started off tight (the score was tied at 29 ten minutes in) Riot Squad took advantage of some late power jams to build their biggest lead (41) at half, up 91-50.
The Prime Sinisters also have a solid core to build around, led by a quadrant of veterans (Margaret Choke, Brennan, Rudolph, and Pix E. Cutz) with solid support offered by Drunky Brewster and Purella DeVille. CarnEDGE led the way on the jam line, with InfoMainiac and Slaughterberry Shortcake rounding out the rotation. The Sinisters found themselves down by as much as 60, but roared back with three straight power jams at the midway point. However, they couldn’t come all the way back and Riot Squad held on for the 191-142 victory.
Toronto Hosts Brandywine
There was an important double header in Toronto on Saturday night as well, with CN Power picking up its third-straight win in a one-sided stomping of Brandywine (296-90). It was an important win for CN Power, as they look to slip back into the WFTDA D1 Top 20 and secure a favourable playoff position.
The night was kicked off with a regular season showdown between the defending champion Death Track Dolls and the second place Chicks Ahoy!. The Dolls still look like the team to beat walking all over the short-handed Chicks. The Dolls held the Chicks to only 15 points in the opening half, and were almost as stingy in the second as they skated to a dominant 272-35 win. The win places the Dolls undefeated and in top spot at 3-0 at the midway point of the regular season and all but assures them of a playoff spot. The loss dropped the Chicks to 1-2 on the season and leaves them battling for a playoff berth.