Gamma Rei

Dolls, Gores, Betties reach for the top; Chicks fight for their lives at ToRD Double Header

ToRD Poster May 2013The Death Track Dolls have a chance to do something that they have never done before: lock up top spot in ToRD’s house league regular season. Although in 2008 they tied both the Gore-Gore Rollergirls and Chicks Ahoy! with the best record, they lost out on the number one seed through a tie breaker. This season, a simple win (by any margin) guarantees their place in the final. It’s a remarkable turn around for a team that finished last in the league a year ago.

A Smoke City Betties win over the Dolls, however, would vaunt them into a tie for first, while even a loss could still see them through to the semifinals, pending a victory for the Gore-Gore Rollergirls over the Chicks Ahoy! (who will be missing key players this weekend).  A win for the Gores would assure them a playoff spot, but like the Betties, a loss wouldn’t necessarily eliminate them: last year they were blown out in the final game of the regular season but still held on to their playoff spot on a point differential tie-breaker. It could get complicated, but barring any upsets, it could also line up perfectly.

Death Track Dolls LogoDeath Track Dolls vs. Smoke City Betties LogoSmoke City Betties

The battle for first place in the league: the Dolls could clinch with a victory; the Betties could throw the standings into chaos with a big win. The Dolls have lived up to preseason expectations, while the Betties struggled out of the gate but seem to be turning things around. A second straight playoff berth seems all but assured for the Betties, but a win would truly shake things up heading into the post season.

The Dolls have a deep bench that includes seventh-year skater Monichrome. (Photo by Neil Gunner).

The Dolls have a deep bench that includes seventh-year skater Monichrome (battling with the Gores’ Gamma Rei). (Photo by Neil Gunner).

Story to Follow: Bench Depth

Both teams been using fairly even benches this season, a testament to their depth (each team has eleven skaters who have appeared in at least 30% of their team’s jams), but the Betties have shown less consistency than the Dolls  (they handled the Chicks more easily than the Dolls did, but they fell to the Gores, whom the Dolls defeated), which is probably due to less experience in those depth positions on the bench.

Story to Follow: Jammer Battle

These two teams clearly boast the best, most consistent rotations in the league. Each team has a primary trio (three jammers who’ve skated at least 20 jams for their team), with the Dolls trio of Santilly In Yo Face, Bellefast and Getcha Kicks arguably holding a slight advantage (they’ve outscored the Betties trio 352 to 317 with 4.4 points per jam against the Betties 4). However, the Betties rotation of Hailey Copter, Slaptrick Swayze and Udre hold the edge in a vital category, lead percentage, and it’s a significant difference at 62% vs. 50%. There are a variety of reasons for that disparity that could explain away some of the difference, but the fact of the matter is that if the Betties control the lead, they could control the game.

First year Doll Rainbow Fight battles against key Gores veterans Kandy Barr and Chronic. (Photo by Neil Gunner)

First year Doll Rainbow Fight battles against key Gores veterans Kandy Barr and Chronic. (Photo by Neil Gunner)

The convenient comparison continues as each team also deploys a consistent fourth jammer. Wolverina has been solid in the role, and played her best derby of the year so far at the Beast of the East under an increased load in the absence of Slaptrick Swayze. The Dolls’ fourth jammer, Rainbow Fight, has been phenomenal from the start. In a limited role, she’s amassed 72 points on a 6.5 points per jam and has recorded an 82% lead percentage; even better, on the two occasions she did not earn lead jammer, she was able to get out quick enough to force a call before the jammers could score, meaning she has a perfect +72 plus/minus as a jammer.

Gore-Gore Rollergirls logoGore-Gore Rollergirls vs. Chicks Ahoy! logoChicks Ahoy!

THE rivalry to ToRD’s early history reignites this weekend. These teams have met in five of the six ToRD championships (each team has won three Boots), but this weekend’s showdown has a distinct focus: the Chicks are fighting for their lives, while the Gores are gunning for second, or even first place, in the league. Not since 2009 has a Chicks Ahoy! team failed to qualify for the Battle for the Boot, and this year, even the playoffs are in doubt. It will take a massive win and some luck for this year’s edition to make it through, and with a lineup as inexperienced as theirs is, that could be a difficult challenge.

Gores rookie Lexi Con is on pace to amass record jammer stats for a rookie.  (Photo by Greg Russell)

Gores rookie Lexi Con is on pace to amass record jammer stats for a rookie. (Photo by Greg Russell)

Story to Follow: Penalties

No surprise given the inexperience of the roster, but the Chicks Ahoy! lead the league with 73 penalty minutes (including 14 minutes in jammer penalties). Contrasted with that, the Gore-Gore Rollergirls enter the game as the least penalized team in the league (a full 30 minutes less than the Chicks), and with a much more experienced pack, the Gores could exploit the issue if the Chicks run into their usual problems, particularly on power jams.  Rookie Lexi Con has been tearing up the league in her first season (129 PTS, 4.3 PPJ, 73% Lead%) and can power through weakened packs and defensive walls on power jams.

The Gores Santa Muerte holds up Betties jammer Slaptrick Swayze, while Emma Dilemma holds off Platinum Bomb. (Photo by Greg Russell)

The Gores’ Santa Muerte holds up Betties jammer Slaptrick Swayze, while Emma Dilemma holds off Platinum Bomb. (Photo by Greg Russell)

Story to Watch: Standout Performances

The Gores have survived their 2013 roster shake up by balancing their lines between veterans and less experienced players—something that the Chicks, with their massive disparity between new and returning players, have not been able to do with as much regularity. And while you hate to place too much weight on individual performances in a game that relies so much on teamwork, that could be the difference in this one. The Chicks will have to find a way to contain the vets on this Gore line up; they will not have to contend with key skater Santa Muerte, but that doesn’t necessarily make it any easier on the Chicks. Kandy Barr is arguably having the season of her career joining another long-time vet Foxy Sinatra in transformations into triple threats. Chronic and Junkie Jenny remain key in the pack as well, and Emma Dilemma is having a breakout season after being given a lot more responsibility; this has allowed the rookies a little freedom and a lot less pressure, which has helped Purple Pain, in particular, quietly develop into a key, effective part of the pack.

Chicks' veteran Robber Blind and rookie Joss Wheelin hold off Betties pivot Misery Mae. (Photo by Neil Gunner)

Chicks veteran Robber Blind and rookie Joss Wheelin hold off Betties pivot Misery Mae. (Photo by Neil Gunner)

The Chicks will be without three of their track-time leaders this weekend (Kookie Doe, Dyna Hurtcha,  Biggley Smallz), and with such an inexperienced line up, the onus for leadership will fall to two skaters: Robber Blind and Furious Georgia (both have been eating up a ton of track time already this season, and have been key).  The only other pack skater on the Chicks’ roster who has picked up considerable track time (IE: appearing in more than 25% of the team’s jams) is rookie standout Emraged. This means that the Chicks will be relying on big performances from blockers who have to prepare (mentally and physically) to take on significant more track time and responsibility than they are used to.

** Doors at the Bunker open at 5:00 PM. Opening whistle for the Gore-Gore Rollergirls vs. Chicks Ahoy! is at 6:00 PM; Death Track Dolls vs. Smoke City Betties gets under way around 8:00 PM. Tickets are available online or at select downtown outlets.

** Catch up on the Stats and Standings here.

Gores End Losing Streak with Win over Dolls

Dolls (1-0) and Gores (0-1), met in each of their second games in the 2012 ToRD season. (Photo by Greg Russell)

Gore-Gore Rollergirls 131 vs. Death Tracks Dolls 91

In what was their best effort in four years against the Gore-Gore Rollergirls, the Death Track Dolls showed that they are a team on the verge of competing for the Boot, the Toronto Roller Derby championship. But for now, the experience (and the consistency that comes with that) of the three-time ToRD champion Gores is still a little too much for the Dolls to handle. And while the Gores led for virtually the whole game and threatened at times to pull away, the Dolls never looked out of it but couldn’t make up for points accrued on power jams, and the Gore-Gore Rollergirls put a stop to their first ever multi-game losing streak to even up their regular season record at 1-1.

Despite a lack of depth in the jammer position, the Gores still hold down two of the top jammers in the country in Dust Bunny and Bambi (44 and 34 first-half points respectively), a duo that can’t be stopped but has to at least be contained if a team hopes to take down the Gores. The Dolls had mixed success trying to do so in the early going, but couldn’t mount any offense of their own (for the second-straight bout they went with a 6-jammer rotation) and found themselves down 31-9, 12 minutes in.

Dolls rookie Bellefast had another strong game and didn't seem intimated facing off against vets like Dust Bunny. (Photo by Joe Mac)

While the Dolls have a wide array of jammers to choose from, the Gores have been beginning to develop their rotation from within, first adding Santa Muerte and this Saturday putting Draculaura into the mix. Draculaura was a surprise of the game for sure, having only minimal experience jamming previously (she doubled her career jamming stats in this game alone) and improved with each jam she had with the star. Another continuing revelation with the star is Dolls’ rookie Bellefast, who was a relentless force for the second straight bout and who, along with Panty Hoser, put a majority of the Dolls’ points on the board in the first half, a combined 31 points, as they remained within reach, 79-35 at the break.

While the Gores sport some fantastic jammers on the line, the Dolls have come to excel at producing triple threats. Over the course of her career, Jubilee has done it all for the Dolls, and Betty Bomber has provided the model of the triple threat, a  model that team co-captain Panty Hoser has followed this season as well, adding jammer to her pivoting and blocking strengths. Ames to Kill could be another skater to watch on this relatively inexperienced but promising Dolls roster. She wore the stripe at one point late in the game and with the veteran poise of Hoser and Lucid Lou and second-year skater Kat Atomic at her side, helped orchestrate an 18-point jam that almost had the Dolls back into it.

The Gores' Gamma Rei lays a big hit on Jubilee. (Photo by Neil Gunner)

While there is a youthful push in the Dolls (three rookies, including UpHer Cut in her debut, were on the track), the movement is being led by the veterans and the on-track leadership of Sinead O’Clobber, and supported by skaters like Speedin Hawking and Downright Dirty Dawson.  But the experience of the Gores skaters led by Lady Gagya, Molly Boom and Foxy Sinatra was too much to overcome. And with the absence of former key pieces of the Gores, Chronic stepped up in a big way and seems ready and capable of taking on more responsibility on the track; similarly, Gamma Rei laid down some big hits on the track as well, adding a physical meannes to the team that gives them yet another dangerous weapon in the pack. Pushed around but not down, the Dolls were still in it, down 119-67 with just under six minutes remaining.

Although the Dolls played their most consistent derby near the end of the game, they stepped it up in the second half overall, and with that late push actually outscored the Gores 56-52 in the second. But power jams were the difference in this one (accounting for almost all of the point differential), and the benefit of experience helped the Gores hold back the Dolls and take advantage of the tiny errors they made (stolen points here, a loose trap there), to win 131-91.

***Next up for all ToRD hometeams is the fifth annual BEAST OF THE EAST! (April 20-22, Montreal)***

2012 Season Preview: Gore-Gore Rollergirls

Gore-Gore Rollergirls

Wins Losses +/- Notes
2011 Regular Season 3 0 +184 Won 10, 11 and 12th straight ToRD bouts.
2011 Playoffs 0 1 – 65 First loss since 2008 championship

2011

The Gore-Gore Rollergirls were the model franchise of ToRD’s first half decade.  In the first five seasons they appeared in every championship game and compiled an impressive 17-3 overall record (13-1 regular season, 4-2 playoffs) that included a 12 bout ToRD winning streak that stretched from 2009 to last season’s Battle for the Boot. As last season began, there was little indication that this would change. They stormed out of the gates in 2011 defeating the Death Track Dolls to kick off the season (the Dolls, by the way, are the only team to ever defeat the Gores in a regular season game). They would continue their winning streak, posting their third straight undefeated regular season, but they would also have success outside of ToRD as well.

The Gores have been the most succesful team in ToRD's early history. (Photo by Kevin Konnyu)

Entering the Beast of the East as slight favourites, they lost in the early going in a final-jam nail-biter (to the Vicious Dishes), but persevered to book their ticket to the final where for the second time in the tournament they fell in dramatic fashion to some final-jam heroics (this time to RVRG‘s Slaughter Daughters). Nonetheless, it was their first appearance in the tournament final and topped a successful Beast for ToRD teams (who finished second, third and fourth).

But in the Battle for the Boot they were brushed aside by a Chicks Ahoy! team that had been on the rise all year, and exposed some possible depth issues with the Gores. Never able to fully replace Lunchbox, the Gores relied too much on a two-jammer rotation, and their once dominant pack did not have the bench depth to compete against the Chicks. The margin of defeat, 111-46, was the greatest the team had ever suffered in ToRD play.

hellbat showed no fear of jamming in her time with the D-VAS. (Photo by Sean Murphy)

LOSSES AND GAINS

There isn’t much change to the Gores’ roster in 2012. Motley Cruella and Lulu Cthulu (a promising rookie in 2011) are gone from the lineup, but to this day, it is obvious that the Gores are still feeling the 2010 retirement of jamming great, Lunchbox. Despite attempts last year to incorporate Brim Stone into the jammer rotation, her value in the pack was simply too great to give her a regular spot. But the answer may have finally come in the Gores’ sole draft pick this year, hellbat. A two-season D-VAS veteran, hellbat seems custom made for the Gores. A confident swagger, a fearless attitude, and perhaps more importantly, a hunger for the star make her the ideal Gores draft choice.

But with very little change in the roster, it will be of vital importance to develop from within, and some second and third year skaters will have to be called upon to step up their games if the Gores hope to compete for the Boot once again this season.

The Gores generally rely on veterans like Molly Boom to pivot. (Photo by Kevin Konnyu)

BY POSITION

His Unholiness the Reverend Ramirez returns for an unprecedented sixth season behind the Gores bench and his calculating calmness has become an essential element of the Gores bench. With so little change in the lineup he’s got a veteran crew to work with.

Pivot:  Last year Molly Boom was the dominant pivot for the Gores, with veterans Brim Stone, Lady Gagya, Kandy Barr and Foxy Sinatra rounding out an experienced core. Another long-time Gore Junkie Jenny has also been known to don the stripe, and don’t be surprised to see some second and third year skaters (like Chronic, for example) get some opportunities to lead the pack.

Blocker: Over the past two seasons the pack has revolved around a core group of Hurlin’ Wall, Aston Martini, Santa Muerta, Chronic and Gamma Rei. With no new additions to the pack, there will be a great opportunity for third year skater Miss Kitty La Peur (who spent most of last year on injury reserve) and second year skaters Emma Dilemma, Mace O’Kissed, Wheely Nasty and Draculaura (formerly known as Pinky Violence) to step into more crucial roles in the pack.

Bambi has recorded the highest JQ rating in 4 of ToRD's first 5 seasons. (Photo by Kevin Konnyu)

Jammer: In Bambi and Dust Bunny, the Gores have two of the most dominant jammers in ToRD’s early history (Bambi has recorded the highest JQ rating in four of the league’s five seasons, with Dust Bunny in 2007 the only skater to ever rate higher). But after that, it trails off. 2011 Triple Threat Brim Stone is more than capable, but will undoubtedly be needed in the pack; Santa Muerte could be called upon to take up some of the slack while rookie hellbat evolves into a regular role on the rotation as the season progresses.

EXPECTATIONS

Dust Bunny and Gamma Rei after a 2011 regular season win over the Chicks Ahoy! (Photo by Kevin Konnyu)

The Gores will need to develop from within to compete with the Chicks’ this season. Arguably, they have an advantage in that they retained most of their roster from last season, but as it stands, still look incapable of competing with the Chicks over the long term. While they will be pushed by the Death Track Dolls (and maybe even the Smoke City Betties, who surprised them them in last year’s season finale), they have the offensive depth (fantastic jammer-blocker communication and comfort) to be competitive. Look for the Gores to start slow and build as the season wears on and some gaps are slowly filled by developing skaters. When the playoffs roll around, don’t be surprised to see the Gores in their sixth straight Battle for the Boot.

2011 STATS HIGHLIGHTS

  • Scoring was down 136 points over previous season.
  • 2010 rookie of the year Hurlin’ Wall led the team in +/- with a +115. Dust Bunny’s +108 was tops among jammers in the entire league.
  • Santa Muerta led the team in blocks (41) and tied Hurlin’ Wall in knockdowns (5). Hurlin registered 39 blocks herself. Molly Boom, Brim Stone, Lady Gag-ya and Aston Martini all registered over 20 blocks.
  • Bambi was the highest rated jammer in the league for the 4th season in a row with a 41 JQ rating; she led the league in scoring (147 points) and points per jam (3.5). Dust Bunny led the team with a 72% lead percentage and scored 128 points.
  • The Gores were built around a core of blockers led by Molly Boom who skated 55% of her team’s jams. Hurlin Wall (46%), Brim Stone and Lady Gag-ya (45% each), and Aston Martini (44%) were close behind. Molly Boom found herself in the penalty box more than any other as well, registering 5 minutes in penalties. Bambi and Santa Muerte sat for 4 minutes each.

***The Chicks and Gores meet in the 2012 season opener at The Bunker in Downsview Park. Tickets are on sale now! The Bout will also feature a showdown between this year’s D-VAS in a D-VAS Black vs. D-Vas Red bout. Doors for this double header open at 5:00 PM.