Taranosaurus Rex

Dolls, Gores Dominate in Season-closing Double Header

The Death Track Dolls were the last team in ToRD to never have Battled for the Boot. (Photo by Neil Gunner)

The Death Track Dolls were the last team in ToRD to never have Battled for the Boot. (Photo by Neil Gunner)

After six seasons, the Death Track Dolls are finally going to Battle for the Boot.

In a record-setting night, the Dolls entered their highly anticipated matchup against the Smoke City Betties with an opportunity to claim top spot in Toronto Roller Derby’s regular season and earn the all-important bye directly to the 2013 ToRD championships, and they did so in emphatic fashion, crushing the Betties 265-63 with what would turn out to be the second highest point total in league history; second to only the monstrous total the Gore-Gore Rollergirls were able to put  up in their 323-75 victory over the Chicks Ahoy!  in the regular season closer at the Bunker

Gores rookie Purple Pain and co-captain Kandy Barr contain Chicks rookie Mean Sreak. (Photo by Greg Russell)

Gores rookie Purple Pain and co-captain Kandy Barr contain Chicks rookie Mean Streak. (Photo by Greg Russell)

Gore-Gore Rollergirls 323 vs. Chicks Ahoy! 75

Both teams entered their final games of the season missing key players, but as they have done for the past two seasons, the Gores defied the adversity they faced and simply overwhelmed the Chicks with stifling pack work and superior jamming. Both teams entered this season with significantly reworked rosters, but while the Gores maintained a broad core of veterans to build around (led by Santa Muerte, Chronic, Kandy Barr, Foxy Sinatra, Junkie Jenny), the Chicks were stripped down even barer than that, sporting ten new skaters on their roster. Add to that the early season losses of Roadside BombShel and Marmighty, and the focus of the season had to shift to building for the future.

The Gores took control early and never relented, and aside from a few moments late in the first half, were in complete control throughout. The turning point actually came early on. The opening jams were tight and fast with the Gores creeping out to a 3-0 lead, but then a 32 point jam (later corrected to 30) by Taranosaurus Rex (all on natural grand slams) made it 35-0 and essentially put the game out of reach.

Chicks rookies R2-Smack-U (right) and Smack Mia-Round work together to contain the Gores' Beaver Mansbridge. (Photo by Greg Russell)

Chicks rookies R2-Smack-U (right) and Smack Mia Round work together to contain the Gores’ Beaver Mansbridge. (Photo by Greg Russell)

Riding a steady stream of rookie jammers led by Kingston transfer BLackeyE, GTA transfer Rosemary’s Rabies (who had her strongest game for the Chicks and scored 24 out of 59 points in the first half), and rookies Heavy Knitter and Mean Streak, the Chicks ran into penalty troubles early and could never seem to get out of the cycle. The Gores, without Foxy Sinatra and Santa Muerta, looked to the remaining veterans for leadership and found it in spades. Riding a deep bench that included skaters Emma Dilemma and Gamma Rei, and supported by strong rookies Purple Pain and Full Deck, the Gores controlled the pack and on the strength of some phenomenal jamming (led at half by T-Rex’s 76 points), were in clear control at the break 174-59.

The second half started much the same as the first ended: strong play from the Gores paced by an excellent jammer rotation that is led by JQ leading Lexi Con, T-Rex and third-year skater R.I. Pink. The Gores held the Chicks to only 10 points over the opening ten minutes of the half and their relentless pack work kept the Chicks heading to the penalty box.

Gores jammer Taranosaurus Rex picked up 76 points in the first half. (Photo by Neil Gunner)

Gores jammer Taranosaurus Rex picked up 76 points in the first half. (Photo by Neil Gunner)

Missing key skaters Dyna Hurtcha, Kookie Doe  and Biggley Smallz, the defending champs rode veterans Robber Blind, Furious Georgia, Doris Doomsday and Tess D’Urb Evil, but the Chicks just did not have the depth of experience to compete. With so much track time and responsibility it wasn’t surprising that the vets eventually ended up in penalty trouble (Robber Blind fouled out late) which allowed the Chicks to give a ton of important track time to emerging rookies like R2-Smack-U, Joss Wheelin and Emraged who all seem to be thriving under the pressure.

The Gores needed some help from the Betties (that they didn’t get) to be able to compete for top spot in the league, but they certainly did their part and more in the victory (which set a record for highest point total in a game—it was the first time a ToRD house league team eclipsed the 300 point barrier), and will have to settle for second spot in the league and a berth in the ToRD semifinals. For the Chicks, an all-important rebuilding year comes to a close, and while it was a challenge for the three-time champs, with a base of emerging stars, the future looks bright.

ToRD scoring leader Santilly In Yo Face led another strong offensive performance from the Dolls. (Photo by Neil Gunner)

ToRD scoring leader Santilly In Yo Face led another strong offensive performance from the Dolls. (Photo by Neil Gunner)

Smoke City Betties 63 vs. Death Track Dolls 265

The Dolls and Betties entered this showdown with a lot on the line: the Betties were looking to spoil the Dolls’ close-to-perfect season and throw the standings into turmoil, while the Dolls were looking to wrap up top spot. The tension was palpable at the start, and while neither team seemed hesitant after the opening whistle, neither team was able to shake the other over the opening twenty minutes of the half.

With jammer Bellefast out for the game, the Dolls slipped Rainbow Fight into the rotation with the league’s leading scorer Santilly In Yo’ Face and Getcha Kicks, and the trio dominated early. The Dolls kicked things off with seven-straight lead jams (and nine out of the first ten) but they couldn’t use the dominance in that stat category to pull ahead. It was the Betties who actually took an early lead on the strength of a 20-point power jam and held it until the seventh jam of the game when the Dolls crept ahead. The packs were even in the early going with the likes of Misery Mae, Tushy Galore, Tomy Knockers and Tropic Thunder able to match the Dolls deep bench (led by Scarcasm, Speedin Hawking, Ames to Kills and Audrey Hellborn—who had an incredible game in the pack, consistently devastating the Betties’ jammers) and the lead flipped two more times in the opening twenty minutes of the half.

Death Track Dolls vs Smoke City Betties

Early on, the Betties’ packs were able to contain the Dolls. (Photo by Greg Russell)

But then, the Dolls took over. A 20 point power jam returned the lead to the Dolls and then the pack stepped up with stifling defense. The Betties simply didn’t have the depth of experience to compete against the depth of the Dolls who were able to track experienced line after experienced line and even held the Betties scorless on a power jam that extended over two jams. Led by 68 points from Rainbow Fight, the Dolls led 121-41 at the half.

The Dolls dominance continued to kick off the second half when they picked up five of the six lead jammers to start things off (and twelve of the first fifteen) and continued to hold the Betties scoreless over the opening ten minutes of the half (outscoring them 41-0) to truly put the game away. While the Betties relied on veteran leader Hailey Copter with the star, they used a broad rotation of SewWhat?, Udre, Wolverina (adding Laya Beaton and rookie Kil’Her at Large late), but none could find any sort of consistency against the Dolls’ pack work. The Betties managed only 22 points in the second half, while the Dolls pushed the pace and skated away with the surprising and impressive 202 point victory.

The Dolls stifling defense has become their trademark this season. (Photo by Neil Gunner)

The Dolls stifling defense has become their trademark this season. (Photo by Neil Gunner)

The Dolls get a month off leading up to ToRD’s June 15th championship. The Betties, who were preseason favourites to make their first appearance in the Battle for the Boot since 2009, will have a few weeks to reflect and build off of the loss before they have to face off against the Gore-Gore Rollergirls in the semifinal on May 25th. It will be the second consecutive season that these two teams square off in the semifinal.

** The bouts were broadcast by Rogers TV. Tune in next Saturday (May 18th) for a rebroadcast of the games.

Dolls and Gores Draw First Blood in ToRD 2013 House League Opener

The Dolls ended a six-year losing streak against the Chicks in the home opener. (Photo by Greg Russell)

The Dolls ended a six-year losing streak against the Chicks in the home opener. (Photo by Greg Russell)

Six years, six regular season losses, three playoff defeats—that is the dominance that Chicks Ahoy! has had over the Death Track Dolls in Toronto Roller Derby’s first six seasons. And it all ended on Saturday night.

In front of a packed house, ToRD kicked off its sixth season with a doubleheader featuring all four Toronto house league teams. In the opener, years of frustration finally turned into a night of celebration as a deep, balanced Dolls team took a 79-point victory over the defending champions, signaling a shift in power in the league. While the Smoke City Betties ended their long losing streak over the Gore-Gore Rollergirls last season, they were not able to summon the same kind of performance in the opener, as the Gores played simple, well-controlled derby on their way to a 57 point win that declared that this Gores team may not be due for as major a rebuild as some thought.

Jammer Bellefast and Dolls blockers approach a Chicks wall of Biggley Smallz and Dyna Hurtcha. (Photo by Neil Gunner)

Jammer Bellefast and Dolls blockers approach a Chicks wall of Biggley Smallz, Dyna Hurtcha and Robber Blind. (Photo by Neil Gunner)

Death Track Dolls 191 vs. Chicks Ahoy! 112

The Dolls burst out of the gate, taking the first two lead jammer statuses (going to Bellefast and Getcha Kicks) before Chicks’ rookie Chevy Chase Her broke the streak, only to find herself sent to the penalty box for a low block. Scrappy jammer Santilly In Yo Face did her best despite a tough penalty kill led by Dyna Hurtcha, pulling the Dolls ahead by 10 points. Two jams later the Dolls found themselves on a second power jam, this time skated by Bellefast. Early on, the Dolls were pounding on the Chicks, pulling ahead substantially, 41-8, only 8 minutes into the half.

Roadside BombShel was in the midst of a strong game jamming before being seriously injured in the second half. (Photo by Neil Gunner)

Roadside BombShel was in the midst of a strong game jamming before being seriously injured in the second half. (Photo by Neil Gunner)

The Chicks came alive at this point as the Dolls began to run into penalty troubles. The pushback was led by a Roadside BombShel skated power jam with only two Dolls blockers (Ames to Kill and Scacasm)on the track. With Getcha Kicks running into serious penalty issues midway through the half—and her blocker teammates following suit—the Chicks roared back and even took over the lead, 49-47, with 12 minutes to play in the period. Roadside—who converted back to jamming after a solid season of blocking in 2012—and Chevy Chase Her paced the offense, with Chevy scoring 24 points on a power jam to pad the lead. But as this Chicks team rebuilds, there will be ups and downs, and they weren’t able to maintain their lead.

Once the Dolls overcame their penalty issues and settled into the game, they were eventually able to chip away at that lead and virtually neutralized the Chicks offense for the final 10 minutes of the half, taking a 111-71 lead at the break.

Chicks veteran Kookie Doe and Dolls rooke transfer Rainbow Fight battle in the second. Both had strong games. (Photo by Greg Russell)

Chicks veteran Kookie Doe and Dolls rooke transfer Rainbow Fight battle in the second half. Both had strong games. (Photo by Greg Russell)

The Dolls depth at jammer, with Bellefast, Getcha Kicks, Santilly and rookie transfer Rainbow Fight providing a variety of styles and approaches, kept the Chicks defense from any sort of consistency, and the Dolls packs had the same sort of dominant depth with a few solid lines led by Ames and Scarcasm on one side and Speedin Hawking and Sinead O’Clobber on the other. While co captains Dyna Hurtcha and Kookie Doe along with a strong veteran leadership from Biggley Smallz, Robber Blind and Furious Georgia (who continued her strong offensive play) held a young team together, it was that punishing Dolls pack work that led to a tragedy on the track.

Enjoying one of the games of her career (she was second in scoring on the Chicks with 19 points at half), Roadside suffered a tragic major leg break near the midway point of the second half. When the teams returned to action after a lengthy break, the Chicks couldn’t find the momentum to claw back, and even with Dyna Hurtcha taking a jam and Kookie Doe wearing the star more, managed only 18 points in the second half of the period, suffering their first loss to the Dolls ever and their first ToRD loss of any kind in two years.

Gores rookie Taranasaurus Rex fights a Betties three-wall. (Photo by Greg Russell)

Gores rookie Taranosaurus Rex fights a Betties three-wall. (Photo by Greg Russell)

Smoke City Betties 110 vs. Gore-Gore Rollergirls 167

After an inconsistent, but promising 2012, the Smoke City Betties entered the season with high expectations. The Gores, after slowly losing a massive chunk of a roster that had taken part in every single Battle For the Boot, came into this season with much more muted expectations. From the opening whistle to the last, this Gores team showed that it doesn’t plan to rebuild this year. They made it quite clear that they plan on competing in 2013.

Two rookies, Gore jammer Lexi Con and Betties transfer Tomy Knockers duel at the front of the pack. (Photo by Neil Gunner)

Two rookies, Gore jammer Lexi Con and Betties transfer Tomy Knockers duel at the front of the pack. (Photo by Neil Gunner)

Co-captain Santa Muerte kicked things off jamming, taking 3 points before passing the star to one of many impressive rookies on the night, Lexi Con, who immediately made her presence known.  The Betties packs looked loose early on, and they seemed a little caught off guard by the explosive Goes start and found themselves deep in a hole, down 20-6, 8 minutes in to he game. For a team that had relied so much on a few key jammers throughout the years, the Gores showed a variety of skaters in that position last night, led by Lexi Con but also veteran blocker Foxy Sinatra, whose explosive style was also hard to contain and co captain Kandy Barr.  R.I.Pink continued her progress with the star and a few promising rookies, Taranosaurus Rex and Viktory Lapp, rounded out a surprisingly deep rotation.

Betties co captain Hailey Copter had a typically strong performance against. (Photo by Neil Gunner)

Betties co captain Hailey Copter had a typically strong performance. (Photo by Neil Gunner)

Despite the early push from the Gores, they were unable to leave behind the Betties, and after a bench time out calmed down the skaters in blue, the Betties outscored the Gores 20-9 over the remaining few jams of the half, but remained down, 86-35 at the break.

The Betties looked solid from the jam line as well, led by co captain Hailey Copter (formerly titmouse) and featuring Woleverina, transfer skater Udre, and 2012 breakout skater Slaptrick Swayze who continues to make her presence felt with her calm, steady jamming. The Betties continued the strong play to start the second half, outscoring the Gores 39-18 over the first ten minutes.

While there were strong individual performances in the pack from the likes of Renny Rumble, Tomy Knockers (who may have sustained a wrist injury during the game), Platinum Bomb and Tushy Galore (formerly Sin D Drop-Her) to name a few, they were not able to sustain the same tight formations for long stretches as the Gores were, allowing the Gores to stay in it. For the Gores to be sucesful this season, they need veterans in the pack to step up and assume larger roles, which we saw especially from the likes of Junkie Jenny, but also from Emma Dilemma and Miss Kitty La Peur in the second half.

Usual pack menace Foxy Sinatra (in a massive collision with Udre and Platinum Bomb)

Usual pack menace Foxy Sinatra (in a massive collision with Udre and Platinum Bomb) had a surprisingly strong night jamming for the Gores. (Photo by Greg Russell)

The Gores ran out the clock, closing out the game with strong, well-managed jams from Foxy, and then fittingly from rookies T-Rex and Lexi. Although the Gores led from start to finish, they never fully distanced themselves from the Betties, and while their 167-110 victory was definitive, the Betties always just seemed a jam or two away from putting it all together and getting back into it.

If there was an underlying story of the night, it was the strong play of the so-called rookies on the track. This is clearly the highest level of rookie class ever, based on the large number of transfers and the time many spent on the D-VAS last season. After a fantastically skilled night of derby, the future looks bright.

**I’ll take a look specifically at how that impressive rookie class performed in my next post on Thursday**

**Check out layer9.ca for archived videos of the bouts**