This past weekend, the Kingston Derby Girls concluded yet another successful season with a double header that provided the throngs of fans on hand with a double dose of thrilling derby. With a houseleague bout that went into overtime, and a travel-team back-and-forth battle with a previously vanquished foe pulling out a surprise victory, fans of flat track got a little taste of everything at Kingston’s Memorial Centre.
The Skateful Dead 132 vs. The Rogue Warriors 138 (OT)
After winning both meetings between the two teams this year (by scores of 26 and 53 points), the Rogue Warriors were the heavy favourites entering their season championship matchup. With their only loss coming to an experienced Dolly Rogers team from Capital City, the team seemed poised to close out the season with year another win. But the Skateful Dead could be happy with their season as well; aside from the two losses to their Kingston counterparts, the Dead managed a big early season win over Durham’s DRRDY Farmers, and just three weeks ago scored a confidence-boosting victory over Capital City’s Dollinquents (165-67).
While the Rogue Warriors jumped out to a quick lead after the first few jams, the Skateful Dead roared back. With an offense anchored by impressive rookie jammer Tyknee Smasher and the veteran poise of Skate at Home Mom (who scored a key 10-point power jam early in the game), the Dead took over the lead, 26-20 at the midway point of the first half. But the Rogue Warriors never felt out of it in the first half and relied on steady jamming from Amandatory Sentence, Bad Princess and Kimminent Danger. As happens when evenly matched teams face off, penalties came to be a big part of the story, and both packs were ravaged by (especially) pack definition penalties that kept each team short-handed for much of the half. The Skateful Dead took better advantage of power jams though and led 72-55 at the half.
With packs decimated by penalties, much of the pack work came down to strong individual performances. Pivots Coop de Loop and Polly Slamory provided solid on-track leadership, while Booty on Duty and Careless Whips-Her were strong one-on-one. Boney L’Ass continued strong jamming in the second and (B)Lackey(e) provided some offensive depth and was a key part of the rotation as the game went on.
The Dead dominated the first half of the second period and seemed ready to roll to their first win over their leaguemates when the Warriors pushed back. Led by devastating one-on-one blocking from jammer-killer Box Punch and tenacious pack work from Cat O’Clysm. Expanding their jammer rotation (giving Nikki Heat and double threat Zesty Enterprise opportunities with the star) allowed the offense to get some different looks and to eventually claw their way all the way back and take the lead 103-98 with 10 minutes remaining in the game. Accumulating penalties didn’t allow them to hold it long though, and quickly the Dead found themselves back up 112-103 only two jams later. Once again, they seemed to have it all locked up, and were leading by a comfortable 7 points entering the final jam.
Cue the comeback.
With only seconds left in the final jam, Nikki Heat (who picked up a grand slam on her first scoring pass) was able to squeeze past two blockers to tie the score, 125-125 with no time left on the clock, setting up a thrilling overtime jam. However, in the waning moments of the game, key Rogue skaters Cat O’Clysm and Amandatory Sentence fouled out, leaving the team without two of their most effective players.
In overtime, the excitement built off a thrilling first pass that saw both jammers glide though for 4 points was quickly dampened when the Dead jammer was sent off, leaving the Rogues with a power jam for the final minute. It was a heartbreaking loss for the Skateful Dead, but a phenomenally close game that showcased how much they’d grown over the course of the season.
D-VAS (ToRD) 149 vs. Disloyalists (KDG) 132
In May of this year, Kingston’s Disloyalists marched into Toronto as one of the hottest teams in Ontario. Having handily dispatched Durham’s Devils and the South Simcoe Rebel Rollers by 107 and 162 points respectively, the Disloyalists skated all over the D-VAS, destroying them by 259 points in front of their hometown crowd. However, the D-VAS (Toronto Roller Derby’s farm team) were playing with a new roster for the first time and featured Toronto’s least experienced skaters. They took that defeat to heart and steadily improved all summer, going 3-0 the rest of the way, while also putting together a strong third place showing (out of fourteen teams) at the annual Fresh and Furious tournament. Kingston, in the meantime, faced much stronger competition over the rest of their summer, losing to Guelph’s Brute Leggers and a home and home series against Rideau Valley’s Riot Squad, to skate into this one on a three-game losing strength.
The D-VAS roster was also bolstered by the arrival of a few more experienced transfers, who have quickly and successfully integrated into the league and the team. But the majority of this Toronto team was rostered in that late-spring game and were looking for revenge. It was clear from the outset that this game was going to be a far different one than the previous had been. With the D-VAS running a tight rotation of Chevy Chase-Her, Taranasaurus Rex and Rosemary’s Rabies, the visitors were able to keep up with the host Disloyalists, who nonetheless looked the stronger team in the early going and led 28-16 ten minutes in, largely on the strength of unstoppable jamming from Lavallee of the Dolls, Luci Fleur and Johnston (they would also be supported mightily by triple-threat Manic Breeze).
While the game was virtually even on the track, the D-VAS were winning in one key category: discipline. The clean play of the Toronto jammers (despite struggling at times against a stifling defense led by the likes of Mr. Kristi and Vagina Dentata) and subsequent penalty problems from the Kingston ones, allowed the D-VAS to fight their way back, and were within three, 32-29, at the halfway mark of the first period. While both teams struggled to gain momentum throughout the first thirty, the track seemed to tilt in the D-VAS favour late in the half, and expanding their offense to include veteran Getcha Kicks and standout double-threat Lexi Con, they took their first lead with two minutes to go and were up 72-65 at the break.
Despite being down, in five-on-five situations the Disloyalists were the slightly better team in the first half; however, the D-VAS pack came together in the second, anchored by a solid core that has developed together over the past eighteen months. Playing a tight, together game that they couldn’t quite pull together in the first half, the D-VAS blockers took the game away from their opponents. The penalty problems that plagued the home team in the first half were back in a big way early in the second, and three power jams in the first third of the period gave the D-VAS a lead (121-80) that they would not relent. Despite solid pack leadership from Angel ‘A Misfortune and Little Orphan-Maker Annie, and an extraordinary jam from blocker Vagina Dentata that brought the Disloyalists as close as they’d get (and the crowd to its feet!), Kingston couldn’t pull off the comeback, falling 149-132.
This group of D-VAS has one game remaining (a home game on October 20th) before the 2012 entry ToRD draft: a draft that will be the league’s largest yet and see virtually all of this crop of D-VAS called up to one of the league’s four houseleague teams. It has been an excellent season for this crop of future stars that has seen the teams the skaters improve consistently all year. While the Disloyalists’ season may not have ended as spectacularly as it began, the league has laid a solid foundation in 2012 and are on the right track. They have proven to be among the leaders of this new wave of roller derby in the province.