Thunder

The All CAN-CON WFTDA D1 Playoff Preview

Canada's five entrants in this year's Division 1 playoffs represent the majority of the record-setting eleven international participants.

Canada’s five entrants in this year’s Division 1 playoffs represent the majority of the record-setting eleven international participants.

On September 24th, 2010, in White Plains, New York, the whistle blew on a WFTDA Eastern Region quarterfinal playoff game between Boston and Montreal. By game-play standards, it would be a pretty normal duel: Boston, the 3rd seed, held off 6th seeded Montreal 147-85 to advance. However, this seemingly regular playoff game announced something special: competitive flat track roller derby had gone international.

Sure, the international game had been born four years earlier when flat track derby first burst forth from US borders and set up camp in Canada, England, Germany, Australia and New Zealand, but until Montreal’s unprecedented run through the 2010 season, the upper echelons of the competitive game had been exclusive to the founding nation.

By 2011, London had joined Montreal in the playoffs, and the international influx was on. Only five years since Montreal’s debut, there will now be a remarkable twelve international teams represented in the Division 1 playoffs (and one more in D2). Canada still leads the way with five teams (Montreal, Terminal City, Toronto, Tri-City, and Rideau Valley), but now Australia (Victoria, Sun State) and Sweden (Stockholm and Crime City) both have two leagues represented and joining them are teams from Finland (Helsinki) and Scotland (Glasgow). It is a remarkable development in what has been a remarkable evolution of the sport and of its primary governing body, the WFTDA, itself celebrating its 10th anniversary this season.

D1 TUCSON (Sept. 4-6) : Terminal City All Stars (27th overall, 7th seed) and Tri-City Thunder (40th, 10th).

Last year, Tri-City Thunder was involved in the first ever all-Canadian WFTDA playoff showdown when they squared off against Montreal in the consolation bracket at the Salt Lake City Division 1 playoff (falling 366-145); this year, the team from Kitchener-Waterloo is guaranteed to be involved in the second as they’ll meet Vancouver’s Terminal City All Stars in the opening round of the opening weekend of the 2015 WFTDA Division 1 playoffs in Tucson, Arizona.

Montreal and Tri-City prepare for the opening jam of last year's all-Canadian playoff showdown. (From WFTDA.TV)

Montreal and Tri-City prepare for the opening jam of last year’s all-Canadian playoff showdown. (From WFTDA.TV)

This is the second-straight D1 appearance for Tri-City following an up-and-down season that saw them reach as high as 38th and fall as low as 54th before settling into the second-to-last playoff spot in the WFTDA’s highest division. The inconsistent nature of the season was evident in the team’s final regular season games losing to D2 Chicago Outfit before knocking off D2 Brewcity to round out a 7-3 year that featured great victories over, among others, national rival Calgary (208-196—they were ranked 46th at the time) and perennial D1ers Queen City (175-163).

After an off-season that saw the team lose some key long-time players (including virtually the whole jammer rotation), the team has rebuilt surprisingly quickly. Transfers Crazy Squirrel and Honey Badger (who has considerable D1 playoff experience after her time in Montreal) make up the core of that new offense and both have been excellent this season. Last year, playing for the New Skids on the Block, Badger managed 5.42 points per jam and a 56% lead percentage in four playoff games (including a 59 pt.–67% game against Arch Rival in the Consolation Final).

Thunder, however, will be in tough against a Terminal City team whose seemingly so-so 8-6 regular season record suddenly looks a little more impressive when its noted that some of the losses came to teams like Rose City, Bay Area, and Denver. The highlights of the season include victories over national rivals Toronto (a surprisingly one-sided 239-122 win) and Montreal (182-177, ending the Skids’ 17-game Canadian winning streak).

Crazy Squirrel picks up lead jammer status in a May win against Queen City. (Photo by Joe Mac)

Crazy Squirrel picks up lead jammer status in a May win against Queen City. (Photo by Joe Mac)

Although they lost some key skaters in the pack this season (Lisa Suggit and Karlene Harvey for example), the offense remains intact, led by last year’s playoff revelation Maiden Sane. Sane, who came up with Regina’s Pile O’ Bones Derby Club and was part of the National team in 2011, transferred to the team late in 2014 and ended up leading the team in playoff scoring (340 pts. with an 8.1 PPJ) and lead percentrage (69%). Kim Janna, who missed last year’s playoffs while recovering from injury, is back and will bolster the offense this year.

An expected Terminal City win will see them advance to take on mighty (but rebuilding) Bay Area in the quarterfinals while Tri-City would have a tough consolation showdown against either Charm City or Rocky Mountain.

*Head over to Tournament Central for complete information and brackets.

D1 DALLAS (Sept. 11-13): Rideau Valley Vixens (41st, 10th)

Last year, the Rideau Valley Vixens captured the hearts and minds of Canadian roller derby fans with an inspired run through the D2 playoffs, winning the first ever all-international tournament final over Bear City, before giving a powerful Detroit team all it could handle in the D2 Championship game. This year, they’ll be part of an all-international showdown when they take on the surging Sun State team from Brisbane, Australia, in the 7-10 seeding game.

In 2014 the Vixens became the first non-US team to win a WFTDA playoff tournament. Click on the photo to read about it. (Photo by Joe Mac)

In 2014 the Vixens became the first non-US team to win a WFTDA playoff tournament. Click on the photo to read about it. (Photo by Joe Mac)

Not much has changed in the Vixens’ roster this season with its team coming back nearly fully intact and its jammer rotation holding steady, including its enigmatic potential superstar jammer Shania Pain still studying/living/working all across the country and only getting to play and practice with the team sporadically. However, it was long-time veteran jammer Soul Rekker who led the way in the clutch last season, finishing the Division playoffs as second overall leading scorer (with 345 points over three games). Rekker (at 66%) also led her team in lead percentage, although all three primary scorers recorded at least a 51% for the tournament. Its experienced blocker core, however, leads the team; featuring returning skaters like BLackeyE, Bottema, Brennan, Murphy, Reyes, Rudolph, junior graduate Jamie’s Got a Gun and double threat Sister Disaster, it’s a deep, multi-faceted blocker roster capable of big things and whose performance will ultimately determine how far this team goes.

A Friday morning win would see the Vixens face off against a reloaded and refocused Texas team in the quarterfinals, while a loss would see them face the loser of the Rat City/Stockholm quarterfinal in the consolation bracket.

*Head over to Tournament Central for complete information and brackets.

D1 OMAHA (Oct. 2-4): Montreal’s New Skids on the Block (16th, 4th) and Toronto’s CN Power (32nd, 8th)

In April of this season, Toronto, who had never defeated Montreal’s New Skids on the Block, had Canada’s top team on the ropes. Going blow-for-blow throughout and leading for a portion of the game, CN power couldn’t hold off its long-time rivals in the end, dropping a heartbreaking 180-171 decision. You could argue that Toronto never quite recovered from that heartbreak, stumbling through the rest of the season after such a promising start (they’d handily knocked off Boston and Steel City leading up to that game), struggling to hold off D2 opponents while suffering some heavy one-sided losses to their D1 counterparts, ending up at 6-6 on the season and dropping from a season high of 24th to its current ranking (its lowest point in over two years, since June 2013).

Toronto managed some big victories early in the season, including a win over Boston. (Photo by Neil Gunner)

Toronto managed some big victories early in the season, including a win over Boston at the Quad City Chaos. (Photo by Neil Gunner)

Montreal, on the other hand, has had the opposite trajectory in 2014. Starting things off slowly after significant off-season change saw some of the team’s first generation of players retire, the team has gotten better as the year has gone on. Following the May loss to Terminal City, the Skids went on an incredibly dominant six-game winning streak capped off with a best-ever 197-point spanking of long-time rivals Charm City (who had upset them by a single point in last year’s Division playoff quarterfinals) and an incredibly narrow 12-point loss to 10th ranked Philly to finish 9-2 on the season in sanctioned play.

Toronto did have significant roster turnover in the off-season, including the loss of their top two playoff leading scoring jammers (Motorhead Molly and Dusty) and the transfer of (arguably) its top blocker to Montreal (Dyna Hurtcha) among others. The offense was bolstered by a couple of ready-for-D1 jammers in Mad Megz and Smoka Cola (who has suffered a devastating broken leg on the eve of playoffs and will join similarly broken blocker BiggleySmallz on the sidelines) and Bellefast (who was actually called up from the B-team for last year’s playoffs, picking up some critical big-game experience). Belle will be joined by returning jammer Bala Reina (who missed last year’s playoffs) and a couple of B-team call-ups in multi-talented Beaver Mansbridge and breakout jammer Sleeper Hold. The defense is still led by long-time blocker (and National Team member) Nasher the Smasher, Team Mexico leader Renny Rumble with second-year CN Power blocker Ames to Kill emerging as the future (and present) core of the pack, but watch out for crafty (cut-drawing) vet Mega Bouche and hard-hitting Misery Mae as well.

Montreal defeated Windy City, its quarterfinal opponent, 303-97 at ECDX this summer. (Photo by Joe Mac)

Montreal defeated Windy City, its quarterfinal opponent, 303-97 at ECDX this summer. (Photo by Joe Mac)

Montreal’s offense returns mostly intact with Mel E Juana and Miracle Whips back, and internally developed Falcon Punch taking Honey Badger’s spot in the top three. In the pack, a long-time core remains (Jess Bandit, Cheese Grater for example) and is bolstered by the arrival of Team Canada transfers Dyna Hurtcha (Toronto) and KonichiWOW (part of this year’s Windy City exodus).

Despite the high rank (16th), you could make the argument that expectations have never been lower for Montreal and yet it’s entirely conceivable that they could finally advance to champs this year; however, it looks as if they will need to defeat Champs host Minnesota (at the very least) to do so (but should have no problem getting by Windy City in the quarterfinals; a team they beat by 206 points in June, to set up a semifinal showdown against Gotham).

Toronto kicks things off against familiar rivals Queen City, a team they have defeated three times in a row now dating back to October 2011. A victory will see them advance to take on Gotham in the quarterfinals, which—barring a miracle of the largest magnitude—would see them in the consolation semifinals against, most likely, No Coast or Helsinki (or Windy City, but only if that team is capable of slowing its momentous slide during the regular season) with a chance to improve its ranking to 5th

*Head over to Tournament Central for complete information and bracket.

*Won’t be heading to any of the playoff tournaments? Remember to tune in to WFTDA.TV. Also, read about WFTDA’s exciting new partnership with ESPN3 here.

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Word on the Track: Busy Weekend for Canada’s WFTDA Teams; New Canadian Apprentice Leagues Announced

Montreal's Iron Wench looks to get by Windy City's Hoosier Mama, in Montreal's only loss in 2013. (Photo by Neil Gunner)

Montreal’s Iron Wench looks to get by Windy City’s Hoosier Mama in Montreal’s only loss of 2013. (Photo by Neil Gunner)

BUSY WEEKEND FOR CANADA’S WFTDA TEAMS

Two of Canada’s top three WFTDA teams are in action this weekend, but enter their games as underdogs, while the steadily rebuilding Thunder duel with an Eh! Team that is showing signs of finally turning the corner back into the competitive stream in a busy weekend of WFTDA action as teams tussle for position in the Division One and Two playoffs.

Coming off of a surprisingly hard-fought victory over regional rivals, CN Power, Montreal’s 17th ranked New Skids on the Block (currently 6-1 in 2013) are heading on their first California road trip to take on Bay Area and Santa Cruz this weekend. First up, the Skids are in tough against B.A.D.’s All Stars in Oakland. Currently ranked 4th in the WFTDA, Bay Area is 2-0 in 2013 including a hard fought, widely watched 29-point victory over Rose City (175-146). On Sunday Montreal will take on 62nd ranked Santa Cruz in what should be a significantly easier bout. Santa Cruz has been busy this season, compiling a 6-1 record in sanctioned play, but the highest ranked opponent they’ve defeated is the 29th ranked (and quickly tumbling) Arizona Roller Derby.

Toronto is coming off of its best game of the season (a loss to Montreal). (Photo by Sean Murphy)

Toronto is coming off of its best game of the season (a loss to Montreal). (Photo by Sean Murphy)

49th ranked CN Power is on the road this weekend as well, heading to Ohio to take on 38th ranked Cincinnati in a critical showdown. Toronto’s CN Power, with a 3-5 record, has been somewhat inconsistent as of late (great victories or performances against Ohio Roller Girls, Queen City and Killamazoo are buffered by surprise losses to Rideau Valley and Grand Raggidy), but they are coming off of their best performance of the season against the New Skids on the Block in Montreal (a 210-121 loss) and will need the same sort of effort against Cincinnati this weekend. Cincinnati, who is holding on to one of the last Division One playoff spots) has burst put of the gates so far in 2013, compiling a 6-2 record, and they do have two common opponents with Toronto, the results of which point to a tight game this weekend: Cincinnati lost to Naptown by 147 points, while Toronto lost by 143; Cincinnati defeated Killamazoo by 109 points, while Toronto defeated Killamazoo by 94 points. It should be a great showdown, and will be streamed live online here.

Finally, the 133rd ranked Hammer City hosts 50th ranked Tri-City in a southern Ontario showdown that has the potential to shake things up considerably. The Eh! Team, once Canada’s top team, has been struggling to find its footing in the WFTDA. After starting the season 0-3, they recently picked up their first win of 2013, a 258-129 victory over Circle City. After surging up the WFTDA rankings over the past two season, the Thunder are also rebuilding in 2013 after some off-season transfers and retirements, and are 0-2 on the season suffering big losses to Montreal and Killamazoo.

wftdatvlogoWFTDA.TV RELEASES 2013 SCHEDULE

WFTDA.TV has released its complete 2013 schedule and it begins this weekend with the Texas vs. Rocky Mountain showdown live from Denver. While some of the highlights include London’s game against Rose City in Portland (on June 5th as part of London’s West Coast roadtrip) and the East Coast Derby Extravaganza, WFTDA.TV has also announced that it will be covering both Division 2 playoff rounds.

While the majority of the broadcasts will be free (including the Division 2 playoffs), the same pay per view pay scale from 2012 will be in place for the Division 1 playoffs ($12 for the “regionals” and $20 for the championships or $50 for all five tournaments). There was some controversy around the pay per view model in 2013, but given the scope and quality of the broadcasts, it seems a small price to pay to watch the best roller derby the sport has to offer.

MUDDY RIVER, FOG CITY AMONG NEW WFTDA APPRENTICE LEAGUESMuddy River Logo

And finally, a slightly belated congratulations is in order for Moncton’s Muddy River Rollers and the Fog City Rollers out of Saint John who have officially begun their WFTDA apprenticeship.

The WFTDA recently released the names of its new batch of apprentice leagues and along with the Canadian and American teams named, the list also included teams from Argentina, Australia, England, Sweden, and Germany. Muddy River and Fog City have been leading the wave of Atlantic Canadian roller derby and finished 1-2 in last year’s RDAC Atlantic Championships. They both competed in the RDAC Championships in Edmonton this year as well.

** You can watch the Cincinnati vs. Toronto showdown here.

Word on the Track: Montreal Downs Boston, Saskatoon wins RDAC Champs, WFTDA Releases Rankings

MONTREAL TAKES TWO ON WEEKEND ROADTRIP

Montreal New Skids are now 3-0 in sanctioned play to kick off 2013.

Montreal New Skids are now 3-0 in sanctioned play to kick off 2013.

New Skids on the Block (MTLRD) 17th 188 vs. Boston Massacre (BDD) 21st 117

New Skids (MTLRD) 17th 333 vs. Port Authorities (Maine RD) 60th 38

Montreal Roller Derby’s New Skids on the Block played its second game of the season on Saturday, scoring an important 71-point victory against the Boston Massacre, in what was the first bout of the season for the Boston Derby Dames travel team. It was the fourth win in a row for Montreal over their long-time rivals since February 2011. Previous to that win, the Massacre had defeated the Skids in three straight dating back to 2009.

But believe it or not, Montreal and Boston’s rivalry dates back even further. The Derby Dames B-travel team, the Boston B Party, has been playing Montreal teams (house league and travel) since 2008. This past Saturday, Les Sexpos defeated the B Party 211-148. The last time these two particular teams met was in 2011, a one-point victory by Boston.

On Sunday, the Skids hit up Maine Roller Derby’s Port Authority for a sanctioned hangover matchup. Montreal won it handily, 333 to 38. It was the second WFTDA sanctioned meeting between the two teams, and the first since a 79-point Montreal victory victory in May 2011. Maine, which had consistently been an East Region “bubble playoff team” (they finished 11th in the region last season), now find themselves buried deep in WFTDA’s Division Two (60th overall).

SASKATOON DEFEATS REGINA IN ALL-SASKATCHEWAN RDAC CHAMPIONSHIP

RDAC held its first championship, featuring teams from three of its regions.

RDAC held its first championship, featuring teams from three of its regions.

Saskatoon Roller Derby defeated their cross-province rivals, Pile O’ Bones Derby Club, 245 to 188, in an all-Saskatchewan final at this weekend’s Roller Derby Association of Canada (RDAC) championship in Edmonton, Alberta. Played in the stunning Ica Palace at the West Edmonton Mall and broadcast expertly (in awesome high def) by AMJ Productions and Canuck Derby TV, the tournament didn’t quite live up to its billing as a national championship, but was nonetheless a great showcase of the flat track game featuring teams from disparate regions of Canada.

It was an excellent opportunity especially for the Saskatchewan finalists, who have largely remained out of the eye of the larger Canadian derby community due to their comparative lack of inter-regional play. And they were strong, clearly dominating a tournament that suffered for excitement in the opening round for a lack of parity but brought closer, more competitive games on Sunday.

With western champions Terminal City, eastern champs Toronto Roller Derby (Bay Street Bruisers) and eastern runners-up Forest City absent from the tournament, expectations fell to West Kootenay and E-Ville. Ranked 6th and 11th in Canada respectively, they were the top ranked Canadian teams left in the tournament. But Pile O’ Bones Derby Club’s Sugar Skulls (Regina) and Saskatoon Roller Derby’s The Mindfox (who’d been ranked 12th and 13th respectively), proved that they belong in the discussion of the top travel teams in Canada. Saskatoon’s Mind Fox, especially, were well ahead of the competition, winning their games by an average of about 107 points (and even in the close, 57-point championship game, the result never seemed in doubt as they led 169-77 at half).

While the Atlantic Canadian teams from Moncton and Saint John, New Brunswick, finished at the bottom of the pack, they entered the final tournament ranked 20th and 28th in Canada, so actually performed above expectations. Moncton defended their Atlantic Championship when they defeated Fog City in a back-and-forth placement game that was closer than the final score indicated. Also, strong individual performances and great strategic thought—if not executed perfectly yet—from both teams, proved that even only three years into existence, Atlantic Canadian roller derby is on an upward rise. Kootenay Kannibelles and E-Ville Dead both seem to be rebuilding, especially West Kootenay after a considerable roster shakeup last year, and played below expectations established after impressive 2012 seasons.

RDAC Championship Final Standings

1.mindfoxlogo The Mindfox (Saskatoon Roller Derby) (Defeated Sugar Skulls 245-188 in the final)

2.Sugar Skulls Derby LOGO Sugar Skulls (Pile O’ Bones Derby Club)

3.Evile Dead LogoE-Ville Dead (E-Ville Roller Derby)(Defeated Kootenay Kannibelles 164-158 in 3rd place game)

4. kannibelles LogoKootenay Kannibelles (West Kootenay Roller Derby)

5. Lumbersmacks LogoLumbersmacks (Muddy River Rollers) (defeated Shipyard Sirens 238-187 in 5th place game)

6. Shipyard Sirens LogoShipyard Sirens (Fog City Rollers)

** All games are archived on Canuck Derby TV.**

WFTDA logoWFTDA RELEASES FIRST DIVISIONAL POWER RANKING

The Women’s Flat Track Derby Association (WFTDA) released its first rankings since shifting to a numerical-based divisional ranking system for 2013. Under the current ranking system, teams have the opportunity to earn their way into Division One (top 40) by July to qualify for the Division One Payoffs. The next twenty teams will play in two Division Two playoff tournaments (locations recently announced). The Division Two finals will also take place on the same weekend as the Division One Championships in Milwaukee, Wisconsin).

As of today, Montreal (17th) and Vancouver’s Terminal City (39th) are both in Division One, while Toronto (49th), Tri-City (50th), and Rideau Valley (71st) are firmly placed into Division Two. Hammer City, Canada’s other full-WFTDA team, is in Division Three (133rd  overall).

All Division One teams make the playoffs, but in Division Two only the top twenty teams make it, which means that while Toronto and Tri-City are in solid positions, Rideau Valley Vixens have some work to do to move up the ten spots to nab a playoff spot. Both Toronto and Rideau Valley will be playing in this weekend’s Quad City Chaos, a good opportunity to advance their positions.

CANADIAN POWER RANKINGS ANNOUNCED

Just in case you missed it, last week it was announced on The Derby Nerd that The Nerd will be joined by Captain Lou El Bammo, Dick Pounder and Andi Struction in producing Canada’s first National Power Ranking. Read all about it here.

Nerd Glasses

Building for the Future: A Personal Reflection on Two Days of Derby (Part 1)

The Ohio Roller Girls came to Southern Ontario for their first ever Canadian road trip. (Photography by Joe Mac)

There has always been something incongruous about watching roller derby at the New Hamburg arena in New Hamburg , Ontario, one of the few venues used by the Tri-City Roller Girls. The town is a quaint, early 19th century community situated along the Nith River just outside of Kitchener/Waterloo. The streets are lined with old brick houses; there is a single-intersection “downtown.” The venue itself is a typical rural Canadian hockey rink of a certain era, with its wooden bleachers and creaky boards. On May 19, 2012, it also happened to be hosting a pretty intense roller derby showdown. The Ohio Roller Girls—who at 12-1 are somewhat of a “big green machine” in the WFTDA’s North Central Region this season—are playing in the first of two major WFTDA showdowns on this, their first road trip through southern Ontario. The Ohio All Stars and the Tri-City Thunder are tied at 20 about ten minutes into the first half. It’s a tense, chippy, hard-hitting and high-level bout that has only heightened the incongruity of the venue. In front of this typical (almost stereotypical) rural-Canadian backdrop there are two modern flat track roller derby teams playing the complicated game at an extremely high level, decked-out in sleek, sporty uniforms with the WFTDA logo attached prominently on the bottom right-hand corner of each team’s jerseys.

The Ohio All Stars are currently ranked 7th in the North Central region, a significant jump from 10th where they started the year. They’ve embarked on the kind of schedule (13 games so far) that will allow them to not only make the WFTDA Regional playoffs but also compete. It’s similar to the schedule they took on in 2011 just to make the Regionals (they played 16 games before the playoffs). Their opponents this weekend, Tri-City and ToRD, are comparative upstarts in the WFTDA attempting to do something that would be a rarity in the young sport: make the playoffs in only their first full year of highly competitive roller derby.

Virtually every jam of the A-team game began as a scrum start.

Ohio is an interesting model, and they have a history not unlike those of both Tri-City and ToRD. Formed in 2005, Ohio Roller Girls was originally a four-team houseleague that played a regular season, had playoffs and concluded with a championship bout. Starting in 2006 with the rise of inter-league play, the league began to shift its focus to the competitive travel team model. By 2009 they restructured the league to have “A” and “B” travel teams exclusively to allow a focus on WFTDA rankings. Both ToRD and Tri City began with the similar houseleague model. Only a year after its founding, Toronto, in 2007, embarked on an ambitious six-team houseleague that would stretch players in terms of resources and talent. Within two years, two of those first six teams were contracted from houseleague play leaving a four-team league in its stead. This was also the time when the league created CN Power, it’s eventual WFTDA travel team (following travel teams created in Montreal and Hamilton). Tri-City, which had a two-team houseleague (eventually increased to three), started the Thunder at a similar time.

Both models offer interesting contrasts. Ohio travelled this weekend with only 20 skaters to stretch over the four games they would play (two B-team and two A-team showdowns), an amazing show of endurance and game-preparedness. That togetherness is apparent against Tri-City. The Thunder are relentless in the first half, but Ohio is completely unfazed and they lead 79-48 at the break.

Ohio’s Gang Green defeated Tri-City’s PLan B 248-49.

This is where a little disclosure is necessary: while I’m enthralled over the A-team matchup (CN Power will be facing off against this very team tomorrow in what will be its most important game of the season and perhaps in the team’s history), I’ve also become extremely nervous about the B-team showdown in Toronto. Earlier in the evening, Ohio’s B-team, Gang Green, with a roster filled out by members of the A-team, dismantled Tri-City’s Plan B (a newly formed B team playing in its second game). The final score was 248-49. The next day the team I coach, the Bay Street Bruisers, will be taking this team on in our first game ever. While the CN Power vs. Ohio showdown may be the important showdown in the present, looking forward, the development of a B team may prove to be the most important development in ToRD’s competitive future.

****Tomorrow: “Building for the Future: A Personal Reflection on Two Days of Derby (Party 2)”

Quad City Chaos 2012 Recap (Part One): The Games

Despite big changes to the lineup, the Vixens continue to progress. (Photo by Greg Russell)

DAY ONE

Vixens (Rideau Valley Roller Girls) 84 vs. CN Power (Toronto Roller Derby) 197

The Rideau Valley Vixens came into this tournament in the midst of a mini-rebuild as the first true generational shift in the travel team occurs. With the loss or absence of key pack players and jammers,  the team could easily have crumbled under the pressure of playing their big sisters to the south: but instead, what has emerged from the Vixens’ minor overhaul is the emergence of a solid team with a ton of potential. As a travel team, the Vixens have always been defined by outstanding individual play, so it was a CN Power squad that was caught off guard. Tight walls controlled CN Power jammers on opening passes and allowed the impressive and growing number of Vixens’ jammers to get a significant amount of leads (Soul Rekker and Dee Dee Tee lead the rotation that also included Mudblood, Tarantulove, and Pix E Cutz). This kept things close, with CN Power holding on 83-48 at the half.

CN Power seemed to reel things in to kick off the second half and went on a 30-9 run in the first ten minutes to pad their lead and pull ahead of the upstart Vixens; a Soul Rekker 15-point pick up briefly brought Rideau Valley back into it, but a Betty Bomber 30-point power jam with only 13 minutes remaining increased the lead to 73 points and provided the padding that CN Power needed. Strong recycling from the Brim Stone/Panty Hoser duo, and continued impressive play from Aston Martini ensured the 113 point victory for CN Power, the narrowest margin in four meetings with the Vixens, a good sign for the Ottawa team.

Eh! Team (Hammer City Roller Girls) 31 vs. Thunder (Tri-City Roller Girls) 392

Freudian Whip has taken on a larger jamming role with the Thunder; Hammer City vet Miss Carriage returned to the track before re-injuring her collarbone. (Photo by Neil Gunner)

The second bout of the opening day of the 2012 Quad City Chaos was a display of textbook dominance from the Tri-City Thunder. Controlling every aspect of the bout over a majority of the first half, smothering pack defence, unstoppabably agile jamming (including a monster game from rookie Ova’ Kill—who was playing her first game and recorded 50 points in the first half alone), and overall track awareness saw the Thunder hold the Eh! Team off the board for the first 23 minutes (they lead 145-0 at that time). For the most part, Hammer tried to stem the flow by keeping their core of veterans in the key jammer-pivot roles. It was vet Bitchslap Barbie who finally pulled the first lead jammer and points for her team, and the insatiable Mean Little Mamma kept the momentum going. Down but not demoralized, the Eh! Team was looking at a 180-11 deficit at half.

One thing about this Hammer City team, they never stop fighting even in the face of major odds (they entered the tournament on a 16 game WFTDA losing streak). Lead by the unceasing play of Barbie, Mama and Miss Carriage, the new generation of Hammer City skaters slowly began to mark their presence, and led by a similarly unceasing Lorazeslam and a smart on-track leader in Whacks Poetic, the likes of Zoe Disco, Oh! Henry, Peppermental and Skarla provide a solid group around which to build.  In the end they had no answers for the Thunder who skated away with an impressive 361 point victory.

 *Watch the archived boutcast.

Breakout Vixens jammer Tarantulove mixes it up with Whacks Poetic, one of the key members of the next generation of Hammer City skaters. (Photo by Greg Russell)

Eh! Team (HCRG) 75 vs. Vixens (RVRG) 248

The Rideau Valley Vixens continued their exceptional play. Hammer City, who seemed to be learning and adapting on the fly all weekend, came out with a grinding defensive start that had the Vixens on the defensive as well, and their walls were up for the challenge. While Hammer’s defense was tightening up, they still struggled to generate offense (they were lacking a little toughness in on the track with Judge Jodie and Mama taking this one off). New Vixens’ jammer Tarantulove –who was out there for RVRG’s opening jam—would have a big game for the Vixens who would dominate the first five minutes before Eh! Team vet JJ Bladez finally nabbed a lead and picked up four points to make it 26-4, five minutes in. Once on the scoreboard, the Eh! Team stepped it up, and a Miss Carriage power jam had them clawing back into it. Despite being pulled into Hammer’s hard-hitting, high risk style, fantastic blocking in this one from Screaming Meanie Massacre (who has stepped into a bigger role on the team) and the vastly improved Margaret Choke (who was reliable defensively all weekend), kept the Vixens in control, and they eventually began to slowly pull ahead, leading 147-41 at half.

In the second half, Rideau Valley tightened things up and with less penalties were able to pull away (they took a lot of counter-clockwise blocking penalties in the first). Frostbite Me continued her excellent play in the pack while Tarantulove continued with her best game of the tournament closing out the game with a big jam to end an impressive, one-sided Vixens’ 173 point victory. Nonetheless, the Eh! Team had to be content with their 75 point offensive output in the game.

Brim Stone leads a CN Power wall to hold off Ova' Kill (who had a very impressive rookie debut). (Photo by Greg Russell)

Thunder (TCRG) 107 vs. CN Power (ToRD) 141

The marquee matchup of the 2012 Quad City Chaos was at prime time on Saturday night, and with these two ranked 16th (Thunder) and 17th (CN Power) in the WFTDA’s North Central Region, this one was about much more than a potential QCC tournament victory.  This was the third meeting in the last 15 months, and a tie breaker as they split the previous meetings. While this matchup is no longer as much about differing styles as it once was, Thunder still prefers a much slower, deliberate game than CN Power who still doesn’t seem to mind getting involved in a faster shoot out. Nonetheless it was a complete stalemate in the opening jams as both teams proceeded cautiously, almost respectfully. They traded leads throughout the first five minutes until a CN Power power jam (skated by Bambi, who’d never faced Thunder before) with a 4-3 pack advantage gave them a lead (21-3) that they would never relinquish. They settled in to this one and at one point increased the lead to 60-9 with only 12 minutes left. But the Thunder fought back hard at the end of the first and wrestled momentum away, outscoring CN Power 37-3 in the final 12 minutes to pull close, 63-46 at the half.

Super Thunder blocker Bareleigh Legal attempts to hunt down CN Power's Defecaitlin. (Photo by Greg Russell)

This bout was typified by wide swings in momentum, and CN Power came out calm and collected to start the second and was able to quickly get back into it. Penalties played a big role in this one: while Toronto had a steady stream of blockers heading to the pack giving Thunder dangerous pack advantages, Toronto’s jammers managed to remain clean, and the power jams made a big difference. But CN Power also showed their depth in all positions. Experienced jammer Candy Crossbones seemed to revel in the physical game played by the Thunder, and Betty Bomber and Aston Martini both had strong games in the pack. For the Thunder, sin-e-star and BareLeigh Legal were their usual lethal selves but Sofanda Beatin has really stepped up her game and was a huge presence all weekend for Tri-City. Rookie Ova Kill also continued to impress against experienced opponents. Defecaitlin closed out the bout with an important lead jam on the final jam, as CN Power held on for the very important victory.

*Watch the archived boutcast.

DAY TWO

Despite leading for much of the game, in the end the experience of players like sin-e-star and Sofanda Beatin was too much for the Vixens. (Photo by Greg Russell)

Vixens (RVRG) 168 vs. Thunder (TCRG) 202

In what was the second-place game at the tournament, Thunder came in as huge favourites, but as they did all weekend, the Vixens impressed with their steady team play. From the very opening jam, this one was a thriller. Tri City controlled things early as Sofanda Beatin was a one-women wall constantly recycling the Vixens’ jammers. They quickly built an 18 point lead before the very athletic Mudblood, who has emerged as a key player on the Vixens whether in the pack or jamming, finally got her team on the board, but the Thunder were still in control, 18-4 five minutes in. Potentially still suffering from the previous night’s emotional bout against CN Power, Thunder was not their usual dominant selves and seemed easily distracted as an excited Rideau Valley team kept pushing. Some strong offensive blocking from transfer Eh-Nihlator helped Soul Rekker pick up 18 and begin a thrilling run that saw RVRG inch ever closer, down two, 32-30 halfway through the first.  They took their first lead 46-44 with 10 left in the half. Mudblood and Ova’ Kill had some fantastic battles in the half, but the Vixens completely took over (leading to some desperate, undisciplined play from the Thunder) and only a big final-jam pick up from Konky had Tri-City still in it, down 74-63 at half.

The Vixens managed to hold on to the lead for the first fifteen minutes of the second, but as the tension rose, the experience of the Thunder shone through, and small errors plagued the Vixens. The power jams started going Thunder’s way and when they took a 132-125 lead halfway through the second, it was clear that momentum had firmly shifted. Leigh-zzie Borden (who had a breakout tournament at QCC ’11) closed out the game with a power jam with only 3 minutes left that put it out of reach and guaranteed the Thunder a second place finish at the Quad City Chaos.

CN Power's Aston Martini was dominant at times during the tournament. (Photo by Neil Gunner)

Eh! Team (HCRG) 55 vs. CN Power (ToRD) 408

CN Power closed out the tournament with one of their greatest offensive performances ever, breaking the 400-point barrier for the first time and building up their largest margin of victory ever.  But no one would have guessed that score after the first five minutes of the bout when Hammer City put forward their best sustained effort of the tournament. Catching the hosts completely off guard, the Eh! Team took their first lead on a Lorazeslam jam (8-7) four minutes in. (It took them 20 minutes to score against the Thunder the day before.) It was a slightly different look from the CN Power offense (Rebel Rock-It played big minutes with the star and looked great in the scrum starts) and Eh! Team had their top roster who are playing very well together (*tragically, veteran leader Miss Carriage rebroke her collar bone the day before and was unable to play). It was only a Defecaitlain power jam 8 minutes that gave CN Power a definitive lead (44-12). Led by strong pack play from Whacks Poetic and Oh! Henry, consistent jamming from JJ Bladez, Lorazelslam and Mean Little Mama kept Hammer on the board, but CN Power comfortably increased their lead to 208-31 at the half.

The second half brought much the same from both teams; increasingly good play from the young, inexperienced Eh! Team skaters, and a relentless push forward from CN Power who never once took their foot off the gas ( Defecaitlin recorded a rare 39 point jam on a remarkable 8 scoring passes at one point). Mean Little Mama ran into some more undisciplined play as jammer for the Eh! Team, which truly sealed the deal for the hosts who did everything right in the second half on their way to the 353 point victory and top spot at the 2012 Quad City Chaos.

* Watch the archived boutcast.

***All the WFTDA action was streamed live on Canuck Derby TV. Check the archives if you missed it. The non-sanctioned games will be available on Layer 9.

***On Thursday the recap continues with The Commentary.

2012 Quad City Chaos Preview: Part Two (The Teams)

Toronto Roller Derby’s third annual Quad City Chaos will play out at the Bunker in Downsview Park this weekend. This four-team invitational will feature the top teams in Ontario with CN Power, Tri-City Thunder, Rideau Valley Vixens and Hammer City Eh! Team facing off in a two-day round-robin tournament.

CN Power's Nasher the Smasher by Adam Swinbourne.

THE HOST

CN Power has fared well in the first two installments of the Quad City Chaos finishing in second place both times. They enter this year’s Quad City Chaos on a roll dating back to the end of last season. Although the team split its final road trip of 2011, the loss came to Indianapolis’s Naptown Roller Girls, one of the top teams in the game, and the value of the experience gained was immediate as they crushed Louisville’s Derby City Rollergirls on the same trip. Things have looked good so far in 2012, as CN Power has recorded big wins over Fort Wayne and Roc City (Rochester, NY). Part of the reason for the sudden surge in power has a lot to do with the increasing depth of the Toronto Roller Derby League and the ever-deepening pool from which to draw. Led by CN Power veterans Brim Stone, Tara Part, Nasher the Smasher and Lady Gagya, skaters like Panty Hoser and Aston Martini have stepped up in a big way recently to provide the depth that the team needs for success. Dyna Hurtcha, Betty Bomber and BruiseBerry Pie provide the team with versatile skaters who are capable of playing any position, and the offense remains firmly anchored by the impressive rotation of Bambi, Candy Crossbones and Defecaitlin (Rebel Rock-It has also been somewhat of a revelation since she joined the rotation as well). This weekend could provide a big coming out party for returning skater Mia Culprit, while one of ToRD’s breakout 2011 skaters Marmighty will be making her debut.

CN Power kicks things off against the Vixens on Saturday morning (12:00 PM), a team that they have controlled well in their previous three meetings over the past two seasons. While they will face a far different (and more experienced) Eh! Team roster to deal with on Sunday (4:00 PM) than they did in the fall, the stiffest test for the hosts will come from their WFTDA North Central rivals the Tri-City Thunder on Saturday night (7:00 PM). These teams have split their previous two meetings, although they have not met since last year’s Quad City Chaos.

CN Power Roster: Aston Martini 510hp, Bambi 33, Betty Bomber 23, Brim Stone (C) 21:8, BruiseBerry Pie 31, Candy Crossbones 2020, Defecaitlin 2, Dyna Hurtcha 21, Lady Gag Ya (C) 212db, Marmighty 41, Mega Mouth 26, Mia Culprit 22, Nasher the Smasher 2×4 Panty Hoser 99, Rebel Rock-it 7, Santa Muerte 111, Tara Part L7.

Thunder's Anita Martini by Adam Swinbourne

THE CHALLENGE

The Tri-City Thunder return to the QCC for the second year in a row. Last year, a 14-point loss in the final game of the tournament to CN Power was all that kept them from a second place finish. Currently ranked 16th in the WFTDA’s North Central Region (one spot above CN Power), the team has lost some key players from last year’s impressive WFTDA season, but have filled those roles with skaters from their increasingly deep system. Former fresh meat team the TKOs has seen Fox Smoulder, Rain Blows Brite and Low Blow Lois all graduate to the travel team, but vets like Sofanda Beatin’ and Konky also have been brought in to fill gaps and provide depth. But this team is still anchored by a solid, impressive core of vets. sin-e-star, Bareleigh Legal and Anita Martini are workhorses in the pack and are smart, solid positional blockers. Relentless jammer Motorhead Molly also remains the core of the team’s offense, while Leigh-zzie Borden had a breakout 2011 that saw her become a key component to this team (actually at last year’s Quad City Chaos, Leigh-zzie emerged as a key piece of the jammer rotation).

The Thunder has never faced the Eh! Team in official bouting action but defeated the Vixens last year at the QCC (109-84), and while they will look to have dominant performances against them both at this tournament, their eyes have to be clearly set on CN Power. At the end of 2010, the Thunder handled CN Power in a shocking, one-sided 72 point victory that inadvertently sent CN Power on the path that they are on today. Last year when they faced off, the teams were literally neck-and-neck. While the Thunder is currently ranked above CN Power in the WFTDA, a look at their last two shared opponents may actually give the host team the edge. CN Power easily handled Roc City in their home debut, while the Thunder struggled at times against the Roc Stars before pulling away in the end. Previously, the Thunder lost to Queen City’s Lake Effect Furies, while CN Power narrowly defeated the Furies. Nonetheless, both teams have gained immeasurable experience over the past year, and this showdown has all the makings of a classic.

Thunder Roster: Evil Liza 0, Low Blow Lois 8, Anita Martini 9, Ova’Kill 11, Rain Blows Brite 13, Cleothrashya 15, Bareleigh Legal 18, Lippy Wrongstockings 19, Freudian Whip 22, Suzy Slam 33, Leigh-zzie Borden 40, Stacie Jones 101, Motorhead Molly 204, sin-e-star 306, Sofanda Beatin’ 420, Wanda Wreckya 502, Fox Smoulder 1013, Konky 2000, Preying Man Tease 6T9.

Eh! Team's Bitchslap Barbie by Adam Swinbourne

THE RETURN

The Hammer City Eh! Team returns to Quad City Chaos, looking to return to the form that saw them pick up third place at that first tournament, defeating Terminal City on the final bout of the weekend. Much has changed in the two years since that first Quad City Chaos, and the Hammer City Eh! Team went through a bit of a rebuild that has seen them through to this season. After losing to Montreal that weekend by 182 points, the Eh! Team has lost13 WFTDA bouts in a row. Only five skaters remain on the roster from that group, and that includes Mean Little Mama and Judge Jodie who actually skated for the Hamilton Harlots last season (the other returning skaters are Bitchslap Barbie, Little Red Rollerhood and Miss Carriage). Lorazeslam, ZoeDisco, and Bam Bam Bigelow all picked up valuable experience playing for the Eh! Team last season, while Whacks Poetic, Dark Passion Play and Scooby Doom were key pieces of the Harlots.

While the Eh! Team will be in tough against the Thunder and CN Power (CN Power beat a short-handed Eh! Team 277-22 in October, a game that saw Zoe Disco, Whacks Poetic and Oh! Henry gain valuable experience), they could challenge the Rideau Valley Vixens (who have had a similar, though not quite as deep, roster turnover as the Eh! Team previously went through). The Eh! Team has that experienced core of the on-track leaders Barbie and Miss Carriage, the fearless, hard hitting Mean Little Mama and the feisty Judge Jodie (not to mention the speedy JJ Bladez who began her career in Toronto in 2007 with the D-VAS) that has seen it all in this sport and should bring a quiet confidence to the track.

Eh! Team Roster: Mean Little Mama 0, JJ Bladez 5, Little Red Rollerhood 7, Dark Passion Play 11, Bam Bam Bigelow 26, Miss Carriage 45, Judge Jodie 67, Whacks Poetic 86, Lorazeslam 88, Bitchslap Barbie 98, Skarla 100, Lucky Lady Pearl 333, Marmageddon 412, Bean Stalker 511, Peppermental 613, Wild Rice 795, ZoeDisco 911, Oh!Henry 5150, Daisy Dynamite AK47, Scooby Doom K9

The Vixen's Dee Dee Tee by Adam Swinbourne

THE APPRENTICE

The Rideau Valley Vixens are on the verge of completely their WFTDA Apprenticeship and commencing play in the competitive WFDTA. Since forming for the 2010 season, the Vixens saw two years of steady growth that saw them travel through the North Eastern United States in search of challenges. At the same time, they continued to develop their two home teams, the Riot Squad and the Slaughter Daughters (who won the 2011 Beast of the East). The depth of their league will certainly be tested this year as big losses of key players on the roster will need to be  filled. From the roster that competed hard at last year’s Quad City Chaos, key pack pieces Slavic Slayer, Surgical Strike and Assassinista have transferred to Montreal, while Ripper A. Part (who had a break out tournament in 2010) and Sister Disaster (a key piece in the pack) will not be with the team either. While they retain a strong core led by Semi Precious and Da Big Block in the pack and Dee Dee Tee and Soul Rekker on the jam line, they’ll need fresh faces like Mudblood, Pretty Pants, Chakra Rocker and Pix E. Cutz to step it up if they hope to remain at the competitive level they’d reached.

Although the Vixens had an excellent showing against the Thunder at last year’s QCC, they may be in tough to replicate that feat. Also, against CN Power, the Vixens actually took a step back in their last bout: after a hard-fought 116 point loss at last year’s QCC, they fell back to lose by 130 points this past fall. They will need big performances from veterans and rookies alike to stop the slide. One game to keep an eye on is the Eh! Team matchup (Saturday, 5:00 PM). Both teams have comparatively inexperienced teams built around solid veteran cores and both will be hungry for a victory, it could be an opportunity for the Vixens to pick up a big victory over a WFTDA team to give them some momentum for 2012.

Vixens Roster: Drunky Brewster 3, Pix E. Cutz 9, Chakra Rocker 11, Blackout Susan 13, Margaret Choke 26, Frostbite Me 40, Eh-Nihilator 49, Soul Rekker 55, Pretty Pants 69, Dee Dee Tee 74, Screaming Meanie Massacre 77, Tarantulove 130, Mudblood 278, Da Big Block 454, Semi Precious 10 KT

*Tickets are available online or at a number of Toronto Retailers.

**Tune in to Canuck Derby TV for live streaming of all the sanctioned action.

***Read Part One for complete schedule and a bit of tournament history.

Quad City Chaos Recap (Part 1): The Bouts

Rideau Valley Vixens and CN Power kicked off QCC 2011. (photo by Sean Murphy)

DAY ONE

CN Power (ToRD) 156 vs. Vixens (RVRG)  40

It had been a year since these two teams last faced off and while this one was closer than 2010’s 150 point Toronto victory, CN Power still looked a step ahead of their cross-province rivals. Defecaitlin, Candy Crossbones and Land Shark tore up the track, and despite taking some bruises from Semi-Precious and Surgical Strike in the pack, dominated offensively for the hosts. It was only after a well-taken timeout about 12 minutes in that the Vixens were able to pick up lead jammer and put up a few points, down 37-2.

But the real difference in the bout was in the pack, and CN Power looked strong there as well. The familiarity of a set roster seems obvious early in 2011 with a taughtness on the lines that has been lacking in the past. While the pack looked strong as a unit from pivot down to the last blocker on the bench (with Mega Mouth and Scorcher forming a nice complement), Jubilee stood out physically and positionally, including a few jams where she single-handedly took Vixens’ star jammer Soul Rekker out of the play and dominated one on one. With Rideau Valley getting consistently better as the bout went on, and Ripper A. Part emerging as a legitimate offensive threat, a late surge could only take a chip out of CN Power’s 116 point victory.

Thunder's Gunmoll Mindy fights to hold the front against the Vixens' Assassinista. (photo by Todd Burgess)

Thunder (TCRG) 109 vs. Rideau Valley Vixens (RVRG) 84

Coming off of a tough, WFTDA sanctioned closed bout against Montreal, Thunder dressed a travel-team-rookie heavy roster that also featured new Hammer City transfer Perky Set. It didn’t seem to affect the team’s play though as they stormed off to a quick lead early on, against a Rideau Valley squad playing back-to-back games. Freudian Whip took on the star in this bout, adding to a strong jammer contingent featuring Lippy Wrongstockings, Kitty Krasher, Skate Pastor and Motorhead Molly. Pack control was the difference early, with Leigh-zzie Borden setting the tone with some physical play and Skate Pastor picking up 15 points on a well-executed power jam mid-way through the half leading to a 64-29 halftime lead.

After a physical bout against ToRD to kick things off, Rideau Valley showed a lot of fight in against the Thunder, and an adaptability that bodes well for the future of the Vixens (they recycled strategies used against them quickly). A strong start to the second half led by some scrappy jamming by Dee Dee Tee, and increasingly capable pack work kept the Vixens in it. Individually, Ripper A. Part came alive in the second half Semi-Precious continued to be a menace in the pack, and Soul Rekker dominated two major-point power jams to top off a solid push back that made things close at the end; but it was too little too late, and the experienced, confident Thunder capitalized on mistakes and a few strategic miscues from the Vixens to hold on for a 25 point victory.

CN Power's Defecaitlin had the most success against the Skids' Iron Wench this weekend. (photo by Todd Burgess)

New Skids on the Block (MTLRD) 284 vs. CN Power (ToRD) 21

CN Power entered Saturday’s prime-time bout with the confidence built from a very big victory. A year ago, these two teams were at very different stages in their development. And in that final bout of the Quad City Chaos 2010, the hosts looked overwhelmed and were outplayed handily, to the point where it didn’t look like the two teams were even playing the same sport. Although the final outcome was similar in 2011, this was a CN Power team that had learned a lot from its previous loss and a revamped, refocused lineup might have still looked a step or two behind the Skids, but they are now employing the same strategies and playing a similar style of derby. Defecaitlin proved to be the best matchup for Iron Wench all weekend, managing to have the best lead % against the Montreal superstar in the tourney. Her strong play (aided by great positional work from Nasher the Smasher) helped CN Power get off to a very good start, keeping it close early on before a devastating jammer take out by Trash N Smash on Land Shark knocked Toronto’s jammer out of the bout and allowed Georgia W. Tush to pick up 15 and open up a 25-5 lead.

Georgia W. Tush and Smack Daddy adjust their skates on the Skids bench. (photo by Joe Mac)

A few rookies were making their debuts this weekend, Aston Martini and titmouse (who didn’t look intimidated at all when lined up against Iron Wench) for CN Power, while Hustle Rose and Hymen Danger made their debuts for Montreal on Saturday (both graduates of the hometeam-B Team system in place in Montreal). The Toronto rookies (including Hurlin’ Wall) looked very good on the night, showing no fear playing against one of the top teams in the sport. The Skids seemed to settle in during this bout, as great teams usually do, and played flawless, mistake-free derby. At even strength CN Power was able to hold their own against the Skids, but with Montreal being so strong at the fundamentals, they took advantage of every mistake ToRD made and punished them on pack advantages and power jams helping to run up the score late in the second half to secure their big victory.

Montreal and Rideau Valley kicked off day two of QCC 2011. (photo by Sean Murphy)

DAY TWO

New Skids on the Block (MTLRD) 320 vs. Rideau Valley Vixens 23

Not surprisingly, given the expanse in experience levels between these two teams, this was the most one-sided bout of the tournament. At the same time, the Vixens didn’t look intimidated and took their game to the Skids. DDT continued her scrappy jamming for the Vixens and once again Assassinista emerged as a fearless blocker and capable pivot on the track. But there was only so much they could do against a team as unified and together as Montreal. It was 162-10 at half.

One interesting thing to note for the Skids was that they were debuting a rookie who had yet to play a bout in Montreal (or anywhere for that matter). Dame of Doom, a speed skater, is making the transition to roller derby this year and will play her first season in the Montreal Roller Derby League in 2011 (she’ll suit up for last year’s regular season runners-up Les Contrabanditas). This weekend, as an alternate, she looked steady in the pack and strong on her skates, but it will take some time for her to catch on to the nuances of the sport (something that was not a problem for the other Skids rookies this weekend). Montreal topped 300 points for the third time in their past five games to secure top spot in the tournament standings once again.

Motorhead Molly and Candy Crossbones lineup in the closing bout of QCC 2011. (photo by Joe Mac)

CN Power (ToRD) 112 vs. Thunder (TCRG) 98

The most anticipated bout of the weekend did not disappoint as southern Ontario rivals Thunder and CN Power met in a rematch of a 2010 bout in Tri-City won by the Thunder 122-50. In that one, Thunder looked much more composed and together than the Power and were able to impose their style of play on the bout and dominated in the end. Toronto looked focused and determined out of the blocks and caught Thunder off guard with some strong jamming from Defecaitlin, Candy Crossbones and Betty Bomber that had ToRD’s all stars out to a 15-0 lead five in. But in a bout that would be characterized by wide swings in momentum (and no shortage of lead changes), a well played power jam by Skate Pastor (aided by some great traps by the veteran Thunder blockers) saw Thunder take their first lead of the bout 21-17 ten minutes in. The usual crew of Jill Standing, Anita Martini, sin-e-star, and Bareleigh Legal were aided once again by strong play from Leigh-zzie Borden, Gunmoll Mindy and Freudian Whip who is emerging as a triple threat for Tri-City. CN Power took advantage of their own power jams to hold on to a 56-43 lead at the half.

As expected, Thunder and CN Power played the tightest bout of QCC 2011. (photo by Sean Murphy)

At even strength these two teams were going hit for hit and momentum was shifting jam by jam. Great walls, fast-pack defense and slow traps made this one an exciting bout to watch. Tara Part, Mega Mouth and Jubilee were giving Thunder a hard time in the pack all bout, with Dyna Hurtcha racking up assists for her jammers (and pulled in a lot of points on a very physical power jam). Thunder switched things up early in the second with Leigh-zzie Borden taking a jam with the star and Tri-City pulled close again 65-56 five minutes in. Both teams, fatigued after a long weekend of competitive derby, began to run into some penalty trouble in the middle of the half, but it seemed to affect Thunder more, briefly taking them out of the bout for a period. The major difference could have been ToRD’s willingness and ability to play the kind of slow-pack, gritty, defensive bout that Thunder excels at. Signs of obvious frustration were evident from Tri-City as ToRD built up a forty point lead midway through the second half. But the sign of a good team is the ability to regroup in the midst of adversity, and Thunder adjusted. Some great team play (and a great whip from Gunmoll Mindy aiding Kitty Krasher to score 4 and get things rolling), saw Thunder pull close. CN Power managed to ride out the push back with some solid pack work and wall building, and more big hits from Hurlin’ Wall who is becoming a big part of this Toronto team, and held on for a 112-98 victory and second spot in QCC 2011.

** Thursday, the Commentary.

** Canuck Derby TV came to town to boutcast the QCC in its entirety. You can watch the archived bouts here.  Stay tuned to ToRD.TV for interviews and layer9’s trackside boutcast.