Bala Reina

ToRD Final Regular Season Stats and Standings

REGULAR SEASON STANDINGS

Teams Wins Losses Pts. For Pts. Agst.
Chicks Ahoy! 3 0 489
264 (+225)
Smoke City Betties 1 2 361 347 (+14)
Gore-Gore Rollergirls 1 2 305 420 (-115)
Death Track Dolls 1 2 276 401 (-125)

While the defending champion Chicks Ahoy! clearly dominated the 2012 Toronto Roller Derby season, parity among the contenders made for an interesting end to the regular season, where all three teams finished 1-2. In a thrilling turn around, perennial bottom dwellers the Smoke City Betties built on a impressive season to totally dominate the Gore-Gore Rollergirls 142-50 in the season finale, coming within 10 points of knocking the three-time champs right out of the playoffs. But for the first time since 2009, it’s the Death Track Dolls on the outside peering in. The Betties will have a chance to prove that their victory was not an anomaly when they square off against the Gores in the upcoming semifinal.

Visit here for complete 2012 results.

JAMMER QUOTIENT TOP 10 (minumum 19 jams):

Bala Reina became the first skater to finish the season with a perfect JQ rating (50). (Photography by Kevin Konnyu).

SKATER JQ
1. Bala Reina (CA!) 50
2. titmouse (SCB) 35
3. Bambi (GGR) 34
4. Dust Bunny (GGR) 30
5. BruiseBerry Pie (SCB) 29
6. Slaptrick Swayze (SCB) 25
7. Kookie Doe (CA!) 23
8. Betty Bomber (DTD) 19
9. Panty Hoser (DTD) 18
10. Bellefast (DTD) 15

JAMMER QUOTIENT BREAKDOWN

Lots of history has been made in this year’s final regular season JQ rating. These standings have been dominated year in and year out by virtually the same skaters, and this year, injury and the march of time has taken its toll. Due to injury, Dyna Hurtcha and Candy Crossbones were never a serious threat this season (although when they were on the track they were their usual selves, including Candy’s astonishing 82% lead percentage in her game against the Dolls), and while 2007 JQ leader Dust Bunny and four-time JQ leader Bambi both finished in the top five (despite missing significant track time), it was a new generation of skaters who made a splash this year, including two rookies who managed to crack the Top 10.

Betties’ rookie Slaptrick Swayze really picked up the pace as the season went on, finishing with the sixth highest rating.

But the real precedent setting story is Bala Reina’s perfect rating of 50, the highest rating possible. A breakout second-year skater, Bala alone led the league in points with 211 (the first time a skater has broken the 200 point barrier in ToRD’s four-team houseleague), points per jam (5), plus/minus (+141), and lead percentage (62%). The only category that she did not have the sole lead in was jam percentage, where her 32.3% tied her with her teammate Kookie Doe). Individually, it was an extraordinary season for the skater who also made her travel team debut with the Bay Street Bruisers.

titmouse also put together a breakout season. After just managing to crack the Top 10 in 2011, titmouse climbed all the way to second this season, ranking in the top five in every category, including scoring 130 points (good enough for second in the league). BruiseBerry Pie took on more responsibility with the star this season, and it led her to a fifth place finish. While another story to watch is the rise of two rookies, the Dolls’ Bellefast and the Betties’ Slaptrick Swayze (who burst up the rankings to sixth on the strength of a strong game against the Chicks and a massive bout against the Gores).

Visit here for the complete jammer stats. And here for an explanation of the JQ rating.

TEAM LEADERS

Blockers:

TEAM JAM % PLUS/MINUS PENALTIES (minutes)
CA! Marmighty 58% Nasher the Smasher: +143 Marmighty: 12
GGR Foxy Sinatra/Lady Gagya: 53% Lady Gagya: +65 Foxy Sinatra: 12
DTD Jubilee: 56% Lucid Lou: +50 Jubilee: 9
SCB Mia Culprit: 60% Laya Beaton: +44 Mia Culprit: 11

Betties’ pivot Mia Culprit was on the track for 60% of the Betties’ jams this season, more than any other player.

Jammers:

TEAM POINTS

POINTS PER JAM

PLUS/Minus JAM % LEAD %
CA! Bala Reina: 211 Bala Reina: 5 Bala Reina: +141 Bala Reina /Kookie Doe: 32% Bala Reina: 62%
GGR Bambi:  120 Bambi: 3.9 Dust Bunny: +52 Dust Bunny: 27% Dusty/Bambi: 45%
DTD Bellefast: 85 Bellefast: 3.1 Betty Bomber: +21 Bellefast: 31% Betty Bomber: 53%
SCB titmouse: 130 titmouse: 3.6 titmouse: +46 titmouse: 30% Slaptrick Swayze: 57%

Betties’ co-captain titmouse had the 2nd highest JQ rating this season. (Photo by Kevin Konnyu)

***ToRD’s 2012 semifinal between the Smoke City Betties and the Gore-Gore Rollergirls is this Saturday. Tickets are on sale now. Keep an eye out for a preview on Wednesday. The Death Track Dolls will also be hosting Buffalo’s Nickel City Knockouts in the first game of the double header. Doors open at 5:00 PM.

Bruisers Sit Atop Throne as Eastern Champions

ToRD’s Bay Street Bruisers, 2012 RDAC Eastern Canadian Championship (Photo by Greg Russell)

You could look at the outcome of the Roller Derby Association of Canada’s 2012 Eastern Canadian Championship and see that the status-quo had been maintained: No one would have been surprised to see Toronto, Forest City and Royal City finish as the top three teams in the tournament. But if that is all that you took away from this weekend, you’d be missing almost the whole story. With four of the ten games being settled by 10 points or less and only two breaking the 100-point differential, the real story was in the parity. There was fantastic, exciting roller derby provided during nearly every game with the tournament’s only winless team, Capital City’s Dolly Rogers, providing some of the most exciting moments, losing by miniscule margins of 9, 6, and 5 points. The tournament’s lowest ranked team, Nickel City’s Sister Slag, grew almost exponentially. They started the tournament getting knocked around by the eventual champs in the opening game before pushing a vastly more experienced team to the limit in their second. Then in the second of back-to-back games, they upset their favoured opponents to claim 6th spot.

It was a tournament that delivered on both fronts: great derby, but a great learning experience for the teams as well.

ROUND ONE

Sister Slag was paying close attention during their opening round loss to the Bruisers. (Photo by Neil Gunner)

The only significantly one-sided bouts occurred (unsurprisingly) in the opening round. Second seed Bay Street Bruisers (Toronto) took down seventh seed Nickel City’s Sister Slag (Sudbury) by 137 points, though the far less experienced team from Sudbury certainly had moments, and used a strong opening and then final ten minutes to keep the score down. In the only other lopsided score of the weekend, third seed Misfit Militia (from Aliston’s Renegade Derby Dames) tore up the track against the G-sTARs (GTAR), building on a 160-10 half-time lead and riding some stifling pack work to a 326-point victory. The win sent a clear message and set up a highly anticipated semifinal matchup up between the tournament’s second and third seeds.

The final first-round bout lived up to the billing as the closest seeds the Brute Leggers (fourth) and the Dolly Rogers (fifth) swapped leads throughout (Capital City was up at half) to kick off the tournament with a thoroughly entertaining game that would be indicative of much of the weekend’s matchups. The Royal City hosts were able to put together a customarily strong second half to pull ahead and hold on for the 142-131 victory and an opportunity to face off against the defending champions, Forest City, in the semfinal.

The G-sTARs defeated the Dolly Rogers on their way to a fifth place finish. (Photo by Neil Gunner)

CONSOLATION ROUND

The opening round divided the teams into the consolation bracket and the single-elimination medal round, with the three losing teams from the opening round playing a round robin to determine the bottom three spots in the tournament. This round began with a showdown between the fifth and sixth ranked teams in the tournament, and it too did not disappoint finishing with the G-sTARs clutching a 140-134 victory against the Capital City Derby Dolls. Growing through a tough rebuild, the GTA skaters looked like a far different team this time around, shaking off their opening–round loss to win both of its consolation games. Built around veterans like Newfie Bullet, Lee Way Wreck’em and Holly de Havilland, and featuring a promising skater in Paper Jam, they were able to close out their tournament with a 19-point win over Sister Slag to secure fifth spot.

The Dolly Rogers used this tournament to announce its presence. Led by strong pack work from the likes of Whips N. Chaynes and eventual team MVP Delicate Plow’her, some crafty jamming from Sneaky Dekey and consistency from Ha-Lou-Ween (not to mention double-threat performances from Violently Jill and Deanna Destroi), Capital City impressed with their ability and preparation, but showed that they still lack the all-important game experience that allowed them to close out wins.  They closed out their tournament the way they began it, with a thrilling back-and-forth game characterized by large swings in momentum, only this time it was with a surprisingly resilient Sister Slag. Led by Elle Hoar (whose role seemed to grow as the tournament went on), and paced offensively by Legzy Megzy and Red Hot and Anna Maul, the Nickel City skaters seemed to grow closer together during the tournament and finished as a much tighter and more polished team than they were when it began. They closed out the final consolation game with a natural grand slam to break a tie and secure sixth place with the 149-144 victory.

MEDAL ROUND

The Brute Leggers were taken out of their game by Forest City’s physicality. (Photo by Greg Russell)

Perhaps the greatest level of tension and excitement came in the semifinals where the top four seeds squared off. In the first semi-final, the Brute Leggers dominated Forest City early on. With an offence paced by Hot Cross Guns and Hellcat of Panar and a pack anchored by Kim Scarsmashian, Forest City—responding with a jammer crew of Andi Slamberg, Mighty Thor and Torque e Mada and a veteran pack now ubiquitous in eastern Canadian derby—was only able to score 7 points over the first twenty minutes of the half. But with London blocker Mirambo raising the intensity level, knocking Royal City off balance, the defending champs began to claw back and were down 60-38 at half. Never able to get their heads back into it and thrown off by Forest City’s intense physicality, the hosts managed only 26 second-half points to fall 145-86.

The Bay Street Bruisers needed a late comeback to get passed the Misfit Militia, in one of the most exciting games of the tournament. (Photo by Neil Gunner).

In the second semi-final, the Misfit Militia roared off of the jammer line and barely looked back, throwing everything they could at the Bay Street Bruisers who could never really get anything going in  the first half. Consistent jamming from Randy Roll-lin and Zombabe and dominant pack work from Renny Rumble had the Bruisers stumped throughout. The Militia had a 27-point half-time lead. The dominance continued in the second half, but the persistence of jammers Bala Reina and titmouse, and the on-track leadership of eventual team MVP Chronic had the Bruisers sticking around, never letting the lead grow past 50 points, and when the penalty calls started going their way, they were ready. A 29-point Bala Reina power jam (much of it orchestrated with the Bruisers having only two Blockers, Chronic and Miss Kitty La Peur, on the track) with only ten minutes remaining had Toronto within 12 points and holding all the momentum. They controlled things for the final ten minutes aas frustration mounted for the Renegade Derby Dames and were able to hold on to advance to the final.

The Brute Leggers pulled it together to defeat the Misfit Militia in the third place game. (Photo by Greg Russell)

The Misfit Militia never seemed to recover from the defeat, while the Brute Leggers pulled it together after their emotional loss to come back to control the third place bout most of the way and skated to the 190-129 victory. The championship game provided an entertaining first half that saw the Bruisers storm out 42-9 lead at the halfway mark. Strong jamming from Bala Reina and Bellefast continued to pace the Bruisers who were able to impose their style of play on the game early, and never let Forest City get comofortable. Although penalty troubles allowed London to get back into it only a few minutes later (they even briefly took the lead at the 10-minute mark), the Bruisers regained control to lead 78-54 at the half. The second half was all Bruisers with the lead increasing steadily to 135-86 at the midway point, before they held on for the 163-88 victory and took home the 2012 RDAC Eastern Canadian Championship.

The Bay Street Bruisers and Forest City All Stars (Eastern Region) join the Terminal City All Stars and Kootenay Kannibelles (West), Saskatoon Roller Derby and Pile O’ Bones Derby Club (central) at the Canadian championship. The Atlantic representatives will be determined at a tournament in St. John’s in September.

Bruisers’ jammer (and one of the team MVPs) Bala Reina was dominant in the final. (Photo by Greg Russell)

COMPLETE RESULTS

First Round

Brute Leggers (Royal City Roller Girls) 142 vs. Dolly Rogers (Capital City Derby Dolls) 131

Misfit Militia (Renegade Derby Dames) 354 vs. G-sTARs (GTA Rollergirls) 28

Bay Street Bruisers (Toronto Roller Derby) 253 vs. Sister Slag (Nichel City Roller Derby) 116

Consolation Pool

G-sTARs (1-0) 140 vs. Dolly Rogers (0-1) 134

G-sTARs (2-0) 194 vs. Sister Slag (0-1) 173

Sister Slag (1-1) 149 vs. Dolly Rogers (0-2) 144

Medal Round

Semifinals

Forest City All Stars 145 vs. Brute Leggers 86

Misfit Militia 130 vs. Bay Street Bruisers 140

Third Place

Brute Leggers 190 vs. Misfit Militia 129

Championship

Forest City 88 vs. Bay Street Bruisers 163

Building for the Future: A Personal Reflection on Two Days of Derby (Part 2)

Cn Power co-captain Lady Gagya talks to her bench. (Photo by Neil Gunner)

Toronto Roller Derby’s CN Power was confident on Sunday morning as they warmed up for the early noon start. While the Thunder (ranked two spots behind ToRD’s travel team) did eventually lose 159-113, they managed to keep pace in the second half, and more importantly, they got under the skin of the Ohio skaters and took them out of their game, holding them to only 9 points over the final 10 minutes of the game.  The differential was almost exactly the same as the last time CN Power had met the Thunder, and this gave CN Power hope.

CN Power jammer Defecaitlin tries to break through a tight Ohio wall. (Photo by Neil Gunner)

There is an eerie intensity to closed games, perhaps heightened by the dusty expanse of The Bunker (looking far removed from its stint as host of the World Cup). Sunday morning is sunny and hot—the tail end of the first real summer weekend of the year—along with a full contingent of refs, NSOs and the ToRD TV boutcast crew, a handful of leaguemates is present as well. The lack of an audience does not  dampen the atmosphere; instead, as the teams chant their pre-games chants into the empty room, a certain tension is felt in the silence. CN Power bursts out of the gates with their top rotation of Defecaitlin, Bambi and Candy Crossbones taking the first three lead-jammer statuses and putting up 9 points. It is methodical, and they look comfortable, settled: ready. But then in the fourth jam Ohio’s Kitty Liquorbottom picks up 9 points behind stifling pack work (as she had been the previous night in New Hamburg, Phoenix Bunz is a menace, a one-woman pack, who plays the same sort of relentless kind of derby as Rideau Valley’s Semi Precious).  For the next few jams momentum swings Ohio’s way, with a 15-point power jam threatening to widen the gap between the teams.

Betty Bomber and Lady Gagya try to contain Ohio triple threat Phoenix Bunz. (Phoyo by Greg Russell)

With CN Power’s jammer rotation running into early penalty trouble, travel team rookie, Kookie Doe, is given her first opportunity with the star. Her lead status and 4-point pickup ends a run of 45 straight points scored by Ohio and suddenly CN Power is back in it. Everything seems to be coming back together again for the home team. Tara Part and Nasher the Smasher are putting in their usual performances, and on the other lines Panty Hoser and Lady Gagya are playing well. With four minutes remaining in the half, Ohio is up by one point 57-56. The small group of ToRDies I am sitting with is antsy and vocal. Unfazed, Ohio never strays very far from their simple, fast game and win the final two jams to lead 69-56 at the half.

I’m not able to watch the second half. At this point The Bruisers and I walk away to prepare for our debut that will follow. Watching the CN Power game has been stressful: high heart rate, bitten nails, tension-yells that echo off the walls of the empty Bunker, but as I leave Track 1 to join the team on Track 2 (the warm-up track), I feel a calmness fall over me.

Ohio plays an uncomplicated, super tight and fast brand of flat track roller derby. (Photo by Greg Russell)

I experience the second half of the CN Power game from this vantage point. I can see the score, flashes of skaters rounding turn one; I can hear the whistle of the refs, the bursts of noise from the benches, the few in attendance. I can see that things aren’t going well for CN Power. 12 minutes in, CN Power has been outscored 30-5. It’s 104-61 at the halfway point. That’s when I notice Bambi being led away with her arm in a brace (it’s broken); see Aston Martini on the sidelines with her arm back in a sling, having reaggravated a recurring injury. Suddenly, with lines in disarray and people in positions they aren’t used to, CN Power can no longer compete with a team of the quality and endurance of Ohio. They pounce and are merciless in their taking advantage of the shaken team and they dominate the second half. It is the case of a very, very experienced team taking complete advantage of a comparatively inexperienced team caught up in a moment of adversity. They distance themselves from the challengers and win definitively 197-91.

Bruisers jammer Bala Reina faces off against Gang Green’s Outa My Wayman (who, remarkably, played all four games for Ohio on the weekend). (Photo by Greg Russell)

The Bay Street Bruisers take to the track following this, facing off against a Gang Green that features six of the skaters who have just defeated our A Team (including the smooth skating Outa My Wayman). The Bruisers, though, are completely focused. I personally feel infinitely more calm on the bench in the midst of a game than I was on the sidelines watching, though memories of the Gang Green vs. Plan B bout from the night before linger. We weather some early game penalty troubles, stick to the plan and play our game, trying to match Ohio’s masterful simplicity with our own brand of straight-ahead flat track roller derby. We are down 86-42 at the half.

Led by our calm, consistent captain/pivots Chronic and Downright Dirty Dawson, the Bruisers don’t play a perfect game by any means, but play as perfectly as one could expect from a team in its first game together. There are moments when things unravel, but every time we are able to reel it in and get control. In the end we fall 173-109, but it is a pleasing performance nonetheless; an outstanding first game laying a strong foundation for the future.

The Bruisers pack works to contain the Gang Green jammer. (Photo by Neil Gunner)

And in the end, despite the losses, that is what the true importance of this weekend was for Toronto Roller Derby: an opportunity to lay a foundation for the future. While ToRD and Ohio had very similar beginnings, their league narratives have diverged. Both offer differing, but potentially equal models to follow for teams who choose the WFTDA path (while this does not necessarily mean a competitive one, for the most part, the decision to join WFTDA is usually coupled with a desire to increased the competitive level of a league). In a very big way, Ohio has shortened its bench, so to speak, doing away with home teams to focus on travel teams exclusively; and even then, Gang Green has a core of secondary skaters who are surrounded by A-team skaters whenever they play. It is an almost ascetic approach to the game. Stripped away to a core, for the past two years all that Ohio has done has been to travel and play: a single-minded focus on getting game experience, building endurance. They’ve gotten to the point where they act in unison without the slightest communication; they have an instant counter-strategy for every situation they encounter on the track because they’ve seen it all. It’s worked for them. At this pace they will easily make the Regional playoffs and by the time that rolls around in the fall, they will undoubtedly be ready to compete.

The Bay Street Bruisers are bridging the talent gap between ToRD’s hometeams and CN Power. (Photo by Neil Gunner)

ToRD has taken a different approach. And while it should yield the same results in the long run, it is a model that requires patience and foresight. ToRD has a “feeder” model in place, that sees skaters who complete Fresh Meat join the D-VAS, essentially a C travel team that competes with younger leagues around the province (we’re lucky to live in a region where three levels of travel teams can coexist quite comfortably); the four hometeams then draft the D-VAS onto their rosters where they can try out for the Bruisers, and eventually work their way up to CN Power.

CN Power showed that it is on the verge of competing at a high level. (Photo by Neil Gunner)

On Sunday, for one half anyway, CN Power looked like a team ready to compete at the highest level, or at least at the level of the Regional playoffs. But the second half showed that CN Power needs two things before that can become a reality: depth and experience. It’s off to a good start this season with experience gained from playing seven games already. The success of the Bay Street Bruisers shows that the gap between the hometeams and the A team has been filled and that given time, important depth is on its way to the top squad.

ToRD may not be ready to take the WFTDA by storm just yet, but all evidence shows that it’s not a matter of “if” but “when.”

***Read Part 1 here.

Ahoy! Ahoy! Chicks Build Early Lead and Hold On For Win Over Gores

The three-time champion Gores and two-time champion Chicks kicked off ToRD's 2012 season. (Photo by Kevin Konnyu)

Kicking off its sixth season in front of a sold out crowd at The Bunker (the first Toronto Roller Derby league game held in the venue), ToRD’s 2012 regular season rematch between last year’s championship finalists did not disappoint. The Chicks Ahoy! and Gore-Gore Rollergirls looked in mid-season form in an exceptional display of high level flat track roller derby that saw the champs build an early lead and hold on against a resurgent Gores who, of course, refused to give up. Although penalty troubles would end up being the difference, tight, fast packs, slick jamming and excellent on-track communication would highlight this 13 point victory by the defending champion Chicks Ahoy!.

Exposive jamming by Bambi had the Gores jump out to an early lead. (Photo by Kevin Konnyu)

Although it’s been nearly six months since last season ended, both of these teams are stacked with travel team skaters (fourteen members of CN Power alone would play in this bout) who have been skating (and bouting) steadily since the end of last season, so some of the rust you might expect to see in regular season opener was not evident. The opening jam featured an all star lineup with Brim Stone (Gores) and Nasher the Smasher pivoting their team’s top lines. CN Power teammates Dyna Hurtcha (Chicks) and Dust Bunny lined up with the stars. Some nice blocking early (including a big Mega Bouche hit on Brim), had the Chicks jump out to a 5-0 lead. The Gores responded quickly; with 2011 JQ ratings leader Bambi facing off against 2011 rookie of the year Kookie Doe. A fast, tight Gores pack recycled Kookie while Lady Gagya provided some excellent offensive help in springing Bambi for a massive pick up and a 16-5 Gores’ lead. The score would hold up five minutes in with Dust Bunny and Dyna Hurtcha battling to a stalemate despite physical jamming from Dyna (who absorbed blows to fight through packs) and quick juking from Dust Bunny.

The Gores' Santa Muerte and Chicks' Bala Reina rounded out their teams' jammer rotations. (Photo by Neil Gunner)

Only 24 hours before, Chicks Ahoy! learned that jammer Candy Crossbones was out due to injury, which meant that second-year skater Bala Reina was slotted into the jammer rotation. This worked out well for the Gores who were also looking to develop their own jammer rotation and had third year skater Santa Muerte in place. This provided an intriguing matchup in the early going, and both skaters impressed in the busiest games (jamming) of their careers. In the first part of the half, the Gores had control of the bout, and big hitting from veteran Foxy Sinatra (who tangled with Tara Part early on), great blocking from Chronic (who was calm and controlled on second passes all night), and Aston Martini stepping up to neutralize Mega Bouche had the Gores clearly in the driver’s seat, up 23-7 ten minutes in. But with a lineup peppered with rookies (due to the Candy injury, the Chicks had all three of their rookies dressed—Roadside BombShel, Doris Doomsday and Biggley Smallz), it took some time for the Chicks to settle into this bout. But if any jam could be said to be a turning point, it happened about half way through the first half.

The deep Chicks' packs were the difference early on as the defending champs built a lead. (Photo by Kevin Konnyu)

Down 16 and unable to muster much offense, Tara Part orchestrated a nice first pass that completely caught the Gores off guard, and with both she and Marmighty hammering away on Dust Bunny, Bala Reina was able to score 4 quick points. Two jams later, relentless pressure from Nasher the Smasher earned the Chicks a power jam, ably skated by Kookie who managed 20 points and gave the Chicks their first lead of the bout, 33-28, a lead they increased steadily in the final ten minutes of the half as the Gores slipped into some penalty troubles. With about two minutes remaining, Dyna Hurtcha blew the bout wide open on another power jam. Chicks led 79-32 at the half.

Chicks' rookies Doris Doomsday and Roadside BombShel showed no fear in taking on one of ToRD's greatest jammers. (Photo by Neil Gunner)

The penalty problems continued into the second half, eventually affecting both teams. Santa and Kookie traded jammer penalties early on as both teams struggled to keep control of the bout. While tight walls and well-executed traps had the Chicks seemingly dominating the packs (they looked to be targeting Brim Stone to isolate), they failed to increase their lead, and ten minutes in held the 40 point gap, 95-54. Continuing to trade penalties, the increasingly undisciplined nature of the bout was playing to the Chicks advantage and they did well to limit damage on a Bambi power jam mid way through before she ran into some penalty troubles herself, penalties that allowed the Chicks to continue to maintain the gap. But despite their strong play (including an increasingly improved rookie performance from Roadside BombShel), they couldn’t shake the Gores, and tightened packs (including great pairs work by Molly Boom and Chronic, and then Foxy Sinatra and Brim Stone), and an unrelenting focus kept the Gores within reach. Although down 128-89 with ten minutes left, the crowd in the Bunker buzzed with the awareness of a subtle shift in momentum.

Chicks' jammer Kookie Doe pressured the Gores long enough to secure the victory in the final jam. (Photo by Kevin Konnyu)

Dust Bunny picked up a quick five points to bring the Gores within reach of the century mark. Then, in a key moment, a controversial call on a direction of game play hit by Mega Bouche led to a gross misconduct and expulsion of the popular blocker and the Gores jumped at the opportunity. Following great blocking from Hurlin Wall (who delivered a key late jammer take out on Dyna Hurtcha), Bambi slipped through to bring the Gores over the century mark. Dust Bunny and Bambi both continued to ring up points, slowly chipping away at the lead until they found themselves within 20 for the first time since the first half with only one jam to go. Dust Bunny and  Kookie Doe lined up for the final jam behind two packs featuring some of the best skaters in ToRD; it started off perfectly for the Gores, with Dust Bunny gaining lead and pulling in a natural grand slam to make it 137-120, but before she could get through on her second pass, Kookie Doe fought through the pack. Continuously recycled, she was unable to score and Dust Bunny managed another 4; but with Kookie set to eventually pick up points of her own, the Gores simply ran out of time, allowing the defending champs to hold on to the lead and win the opening bout of the 2012 season, 137-124.

The 137-124 win was the Chicks' first ever regular season victory over the Gores. (Photo by Kevin Konnyu)

While it was a great victory for Chicks Ahoy!, the Gore-Gore Rollergirls should come away pleased with their performance (they did not look like the overwhelmed team they appeared to be in the Battle for the Boot). Nonetheless, counting an off-season exhibition loss in Tri-City, The Gores have now lost three games in a row for the first time ever. With an excellent core of skaters, the Gores do have the time and opportunity to build from within, which is what they began to do tonight with the likes of Emma Dilemma and Santa Meurte getting key minutes. The Chicks had to be happy to have had the opportunity to play all of their rookies and feature a new jammer in Bala Reina. Despite trailing off a bit at the end of the game, it was a nearly perfect start to the season for the defending champions.

***Next up for ToRD is another double header on March 3rd when the Death Track Dolls and the Smoke City Betties kick off their 2012 season. Make sure to be their early though, as the opening bout will feature CN Power hosting the Roc City Roc Stars from Rochester, New York, in a WFTDA sanctioned match up. Tickets are on sale now!***