Killa Crew

ToRD Takes Two: CN Power and Bruisers Triumph over Killamazoo

killamazoo logoKillamazoo Derby Darlins (13th NC) 169 vs.CN Power Logo ToRD CN Power (14th NC) 263

After a breakthrough 2012 season, things ended poorly for CN Power last year. Struggling through injury and unexpected retirements, the Toronto all stars headed to Grand Rapids to take on the Grand Raggidy Roller Girls missing key players. The results were disappointing for the team to say the least: a big loss to a lesser ranked opponent.

Kookie Doe was part of an effective Toronto jammer rotation. (Photo by Kevin Konnyu)

Kookie Doe was part of an effective Toronto jammer rotation. (Photo by Kevin Konnyu)

Fast forward to this weekend and a recovered, rested CN Power took to the track for the first game of 2013 against a Killamazoo Derby Darlins group that may have been the only team in WFTDA’s North Central Region that was hotter than CN Power in 2012. Having slipped ahead of CN Power in the rankings (largely due to a victory over that same Grand Raggidy team shortly before Toronto lost to them), Killamazoo ended 2012 on a tear, going 11-4 in WFTDA play (14-4 overall), and was looking to avenge two previous losses to CN Power.

Toronto had other things in mind.

Driven by a vocal home crowd, CN Power lunged out to a 31-3 start 4:30 into the game. Killamazoo was caught off guard, and in the early going, were having troubles containing CN Power’s jammers. Dust Bunny looked solid in her return after a long injury layoff, while Bambi bounced back after a rough game in Grand Rapids. Rebel Rock-It, who shifted her game to take on more jamming in 2012, continued to look solid with the star, and last year’s breakout offensive threat Kookie Doe (who introduced herself to the derby community after an explosive ECDX) rounded out an impressive and consistent rotation for the home team.

The return of Nasher the Smasher and Tara Part had a big impact on Toronto. (Photo by Kevin Konnyu)

The return of Nasher the Smasher (front right) and Tara Part (left) had a big impact on Toronto. (Photo by Kevin Konnyu)

By the midway point of the period, CN Power remained in complete control, up 88-21 as Killamazoo ran into penalty troubles and CN Power was able to take advantage of power jams.  One of the bigger weaknesses in the Grand Raggidy loss was loose packs, but Toronto was significantly tighter in this one: It was a veteran lineup full of big-game experience and it showed in the poise and control of things in the first half.  The impact of the on-track leadership of the likes of Tara Part and Nasher the Smasher was evident, and for the half, CN Power would accumulate only 16 penalty minutes to Killamazoo’s 24.

But Killamazoo tightened up as the half continued and managed a push pack in the final 10 minutes. A physical jammer rotation was anchored on the first half by Terrorhawk but featured triple threat Rosie Furocious and Doobie Trap as well. Killamazoo kept pace with CN Power for the duration of the half, just getting edged 48-38 over that span, but were down a considerable margin at the break, 173-62.

Killamazoo, ranked one spot ahead of CN Power, was hoping to avenge two previous losses. (Photo by Kevin Konnyu)

Killamazoo, ranked one spot ahead of CN Power, was hoping to avenge two previous losses. (Photo by Kevin Konnyu)

This parity continued through the first ten minutes of the second half as the Derby Darlins settled into the game, and some determined pack work from Furocious, Neva Soba, and Javelin started to draw considerable pack penalties from CN Power. Heckler (who had played in the B-team game earlier in the evening) also came on strong with the star in the second, helping to pull more leads from the undermanned CN Power packs. By the midway point of the second, Killamazoo had chipped away at the lead to make it 214-132.

The biggest downfall for Killamazoo may have been power jam management. Too often they allowed CN Power skaters to pace-line during the jammer advantage, and wasted valuable moments unsuccessfully trying to isolate and trap at fast speeds. Although CN Power did not have as many power jam opportunities in the second, they took advantage of those they did to maintain their lead, so despite the strong pushback from the visitors, the difference remained significant (237-158) with only 7 minutes remaining.

Potential triple threat Dyna Hurtcha continues her outstanding work in the pack. (Photo by Kevin Konnyu)

Potential triple threat Dyna Hurtcha continues her outstanding work in the pack. (Photo by Kevin Konnyu)

CN Power would actually end up getting outscored in the second half (107-90), due, in large part, to pack penalties that often left only two blockers on the track. That being said, the Toronto blockers often stepped up in these situations, with Betty Bomber and Dyna Hurtcha working particularly well in short handed situations.

In the end, a fully stacked CN Power was too much for the visitors from Michigan, and Toronto was able to kick off 2013 much like they did 2012—with a minor upset in an important WFTDA game, winning 263-169.

While Toronto got two weeks off before their next game, Killamazoo was right back at it and did not leave Canada empty handed, defeating Hammer City’s Eh! Team 358-126 in a WFTDA sanctioned bout on Sunday.

killamazoo logoKillamazoo Killa Crew 129 vs. Bay Street Bruisers LogoToRD Bay Street Bruisers 268

The Bay Street Bruisers kicked off their second season as ToRD’s B-team playing in what will be just the first of a handful of double-headers with their big sisters CN Power. Last season, the Bruisers initially focused on more regional play, and while that will remain a big part of their season in 2013, they will also shift focus to more travel south of the border, and will even take part in this year’s Quad City Chaos.

The Bruisers continued their impressive run, winning their 7th straight game. (Photo by Neil Gunner)

The Bruisers continued their impressive run, winning their 7th straight game. (Photo by Neil Gunner)

The Bruisers established themselves as a B-team to watch in 2012, winning the RDAC Eastern Canadian Championship, compiling a 6-1 record overall and rising all the way up to 8th in overall Canadian rankings (currently, they are ranked 10th—the only B-team in the Top 10).

As CN Power would, the Bruisers jumped out to a quick start, taking the first four lead jammer statuses and building a 21-6 lead. The first power jam actually went to the visitors, but they were unable to do much with it, getting all sorts of trouble from the Bruisers power kill and only managing a 5-point pick up. The Bruisers kept a tight jammer rotation of Bellefast, Getcha Kicks and Hailey Copter (formerly titmouse) who were able to keep The Killa Crew off guard. While the Bruisers were able to build a significant lead through the first 20 minutes (68-26), they couldn’t quite pull away.

Led by the powerful Maditude Adjustment and Heckler (who also played for the A-team), Killa Crew varied its jammer rotation and was able to mount—if not a comeback—at least enough of an attack to stay within reach over the final ten minutes; the Bruisers held a 53% lead percentage for the half, but it was only 33% over the final ten minute stretch. Nonetheless, they led105-53 at the break.

Getcha Kicks was impressive on the night, helping the Bruisers' jammers dominate lead percentage in the second half. (Photo by Neil Gunner)

Getcha Kicks was impressive on the night, helping the Bruisers’ jammers dominate lead percentage in the second half. (Photo by Neil Gunner)

Killa Crew maintained this momentum over the first 5 minutes of the second half, managing to create three consecutive power jams and climbing all the way back to be within 6, 109-103. A timeout from the Bruisers bench allowed the team a moment to calm themselves and refocus, and the Bruisers came out flying the rest of the way (Killamazoo would be held to only 26 points over the final 20 minutes).

The Bruisers were led in the packs by veteran pivots Speedin Hawkin, Dawson and Monichrome, Scarcasm and Ames to Kill were dominant defensively, while Robber Blind and Furious Georgia provided some strong offensive blocking.  The tight jammer rotation opened up later in the game allowing Bruisers rookie Taranasuarus Rex an opportunity with the star, and one she made the most of, managing a 100% lead percentage over four jams that included a late 25 pointer that put the game away. The Bay Street Bruisers managed a 78% lead percentage over the final 15 minutes of the game, outscoring their opposition 101-24 over the span, running away with what at one point, looked like was going to be a tight game.

With the home opener out of the way, ToRD’s travel teams will be on the road in two weeks with CN Power and the Bruisers taking on Fort Wayne on February 16th, and CN Power then taking on the mighty Naptown (Indianapolis) on the 17th. The Fort Wayne double header will be boutcast live; stay tuned for more details.

ToRD Hosts Killamazoo to Kick off Travel Team Season

Kill v ToRD 2013 posterToronto Roller Derby’s 2013 travel team season kicks off on February 2nd with a double header at The Bunker as CN Power hosts the Killamazoo Derby Darlins and the Bay Street Bruisers face off against Killamazoo’s B-Team, the Killa Crew. In a growing rivalry, this will be the third time that CN Power and Killamazoo square off in the past two years, with CN Power taking the first two games in a home and away series.

The Derby Darlins vs. CN Power

CN Power is coming off of a strong first season competing in the WFTDA, going 9-2 in sanctioned games and climbing from 17th to 13th overall in the North Central Region. They kicked things off in February with an upset over then 14th ranked Fort Wayne in Indiana before coming home and reeling off four straight sanctioned victories over Roc City (Rochester, New York), cross-province rivals Hammer City and Tri- City, and Buffalo’s Lake Effect Furies.

Having inched their way to 15th in the North Central at that point, the Toronto all stars suffered their first set-back of the season, losing a hard-fought bout against the extremely talented Ohio Roller Girls out of Columbus, Ohio. It was a back and forth game in the first half, with Ohio pulling ahead by 13 at the break on the back of a power jam. In the second half, a string of untimely injuries had Toronto scrambling; despite their best efforts, they were unable to recover getting badly outscored in the second half and falling 197-91.

The loss propelled the team into its first appearance at the Milwaukee’s Mid-West Brewhaha where they would open with an impressive 158-124 victory over Burning River (Cleveland), before dismantling Fox City (Appleton, Wisconsin) 441-43. This would mirror their inaugural experience at Philadelphia’s legendary ECDX just a few weeks later, where a hard-fought bout (a fantastic 148-120 victory over Maine) would be followed by another blowout (a 375-60 win over Harrisburg), victories made all the sweeter due to the absence of key skaters to injuries.

CN Power after a victory over Buffalo rivals, the Lake Effect Furies. (Photo by Kevin Konnyu)

CN Power after a victory over Buffalo rivals, the Lake Effect Furies. (Photo by Kevin Konnyu)

It was at this point in the season where injuries and unexpected retirements began to take their toll.  While their impressive run brought them all the way up to 13th in the North Central, it would not be enough to get into the playoffs, which allowed the team to focus on rebuilding a roster. This rebuilt roster would only get one chance to play, a disappointing loss to Grand Raggidy on the road in Grand Rapids in October. Nonetheless, the team was ready for 2013 and a renewed focus on WFTDA play.

2013 marks a major change in ToRD’s focus, with the skaters of CN Power leaving their home teams to focus exclusively on travel team play in the highly competitive league.  This new roster will face a stiff first challenge against a revamped Killamazoo Derby Darlins who ended 2013 as one of the hottest teams in the North Central Region. Finishing 10-4 in sanctioned play and leaping from 20th to 14th in the WFTDA North Central Region, the Darlins went 7-2 from July to October, but showed some inconsistency when a big upset over Grand Raggidy was followed by a shocking loss to NEO (out of Akron and ranked only 23rd in the region at the time). But Killamazoo’s strong showing against Grand Raggidy and then also against Ohio and Detroit (albeit in losses) shows that this team can bring it against tough competition. Having lost two in a row to CN Power, they will undoubtedly be on the hunt for revenge.

The Killa Crew vs. The Bay Street Bruisers

ToRD’s newly reborn Bay Street Bruisers (the former home team was resurrected as a B-Team in 2012) had an extremely successful first season, putting together an impressive 6-1 record after beginning their season in May.

The Bruisers first ever bout was a tough one against a very strong Ohio B Team, Gang Green (who went 13-4 in a very busy season), a bout that would turn out to be their only loss in 2012 (163-107). The Bruisers then headed to Guelph to take on Royal City’s Brute-Leggers, in what would turn out to be another tough game, a 23-point victory.

The Bay Street Bruisers as 2012 RDC champions. (Photo by Neil Gunner)

The Bay Street Bruisers as 2012 RDAC champions. (Photo by Neil Gunner)

This would set the stage, for ToRD’s first appearance at RDAC’s Eastern Canadian Championship (Roller Derby Association of Canada). The Bruisers would take down Nickel City’s Sister Slag in the first round, before mounting a late-game comeback to take down Renegade Derby Dame’s Misfit Militia by 10 points in the semi final. In the final, the Bruisers defeated the defending champion Forest City All Stars 177-88 to take the Eastern Canadian championship.

In the fall, a new-look Bruisers’ roster would continue to have success, first taking on the Brute-Leggers in a rematch of their tight May bout, this time roughing up their Royal City opponents at home, winning 271-43. The Bruisers finished 2012 on the road, taking a short-handed roster to Grand Rapids to take on the G-Rap Attack, a game they would win 162-80.

The Killa Crew now has two full seasons under their belts, and were busy in 2012, playing twelve games. But wins were hard to come by for the Crew, as their 4-9 record indicates. Two late-season losses to the G-Rap Attack (though both were fairly close) are the only points of comparison with the Bruisers. But a new season brings new expectations. This will be the first game of the season for each team.

** Doors open at The Bunker at 5:00 PM, with the opening game whistle at 6:00 PM. Tickets are available online or at select outlets.