For the first time since 2014 and the third time in the team’s history, the Death Track Dolls are returning to the Battle for the Boot where they will take on Chicks Ahoy! for the Toronto Roller Derby Championship. The Dolls accomplished the feat after a decisive wire-to-wire 230-110 win over the 2015 champs the Smoke City Bandits at the Bunker on Saturday night.
It was a close, even start for the opening few jams as the two teams got a sense of the game. They traded leads in the opening jams before Bat Ma’am (who is coming off of a strong performance at last week’s Beast of the East tournament) blew the game wide open with a 13-0 jam that helped build the Dolls a 14-6 lead after the opening five minutes.
While the Bandits were winning some one-on-one battles (highlighted by some excellent solo blocking by LowblowPalooza and timely offence by Jessica Rabid), the Dolls packs were—at times—dominant in the early going, transitioning nicely and working together well to block star passes as well (although given the Dolls’ advantage on leads, the Bandits still pulled off eight passes in the opening frame). By the eight-minute mark of the half, the Dolls had already built a comfortable 77-6 lead.
Both teams were making some slight roster adjustments. The Bandits, for example, were without rookie jammer Killa Hurtz, who torched the Dolls for a 67% lead percentage in the regular season matchup between the two, and the Dolls countered by bolstering their rotation, putting Rainbow Fight back into a regular spot, which paid dividends. The Dolls had a team 68% lead percentage in the opening half lead by perfect halves from Holly Rocket and Rainbow (Bat Ma’am was an also impressive 67%), and were led in scoring by a nearly unstoppable Rainbow Fight who put up 69 points in the first thirty minutes (a monstrous 11.5 points per jam).
The Bandits were led, once again, by a seemingly tireless titmouse, who has put together an incredible season in her return to the jammer rotation. Taking to the track nine times with the star in the first half, titmouse managed 25 points on a 56% lead percentage to lead the way for the Bandits. Despite the strong individual performances, the Bandits found themselves in quite a hole at the break, down 129-47.
The Dolls picked up right where they left off to kick off the second half, picking up the first three leads and putting together a 24-0 run to extend their lead to 153-47. The game was truly put away during a stretch in the middle of the half where the Dolls picked up eight of nine leads culminating in a 31-0 run that forced a timeout call from the Bandits bench, but that ultimately put the game out of reach.
The scrappy Bandits though finished the game (and their season) strong, going on a 41-11 run over the final six jams to crest the century mark and narrow what appeared to be an ever-widening gap between the two.
The Dolls increased their team lead percentage to 71% in the second half; Holly Rocket finished with a perfect 100% lead percentage over twelve jams, while Rainbow Fight managed 90% and a game high 102 points. Bat Ma’am finished second on the team in scoring with 48. The Dolls widened their rotation in the second half and in total used six different jammers in the game.
titmouse led the way for the Bandits, notching a season-high 63 points over an incredible eighteen jams (and finishing with a solid 50% lead percentage). Brawnson also put together two consistent halves to finish with 29 points in the losing effort.
The Dolls won back-to-back ToRD titles in 2013 and 2014, but have never faced the defending champion Chicks in the Battle for the Boot. This matchup means that now only the Bandits and the Chicks have not squared off for the Boot in ToRD’s 11-year history. ToRD wraps up its 11th season on June 3.
*The Vipers opened up the night with their second win in a row, this time against Durham Region’s DRRD’y Farmers, 273-164. The victory over their eastern GTA rivals improves their season record to 2-1.