Yukon Roller Girls

Word on the track: CN Power scores upset in a weekend full of WFTDA upsets

CN Power's upset win over Fort Wayne was aired live on Derby News Network.


CN Power 151 vs. Fort Wayne 138

In the ever-tightening North Central Region, Toronto Roller Derby upstarts CN Power (17th) scored an important upset win over 14th ranked Fort Wayne Derby Girls. While the two teams have never met before, Fort Wayne has a long history with Hammer City beginning back in 2007 when the southern Ontario team was invited to the Fall Brawl. While Fort Wayne never lost to Hammer City in their meetings, they faced a far greater challenge on Saturday when they hosted a very hungry CN Power. What resulted was a tense, penalty-filled affair that featured six lead changes and two ejections, but in the end saw CN Power inch one step closer to the WFTDA playoffs.

The bout began slowly, with each team getting a sense of the other as they jockeyed for control. The ToRD skaters seemed to be trying to keep things slow and controlled in the early going, while Fort Wayne looked to up the physical ante and draw CN Power into a physical showdown. What resulted was a defensive stalemate that saw CN Power hold on to a small 7-5 lead, six jams into the bout.  Fort Wayne used their physical advantage to win some of the early scrum starts to get back in the game, and the scrappy, physical packs began to take their toll on the teams and the penalties began to add up.  First Fort Wayne’s Pushycat and CN Power’s Dust Bunny exchanged power jams (and leads), before a 15 point Bambi power jam finally pulled CN Power ahead 38-20.

But as they would all bout, CN Power would build a solid lead only to see the Fort Wayne skaters claw their way back. Momentum began to shift as penalty problems forced Toronto away from its usual rotation and the hosts pounced on the confusion to retake the lead. Despite a strong final-jam push back from a determined CN Power pack (featuring a slick 9 points from an uncharacteristically jukey Dyna Hurtcha), the visitors were down 66-58 at the half.

The second half featured much of the same dueling for momentum and control of the bout that had the teams neck-and-neck through the first ten minutes. In a fascinating sequence around the midway point of the second half, the fate of the game would be decided. First, on another multi-jammer-penalty jam CN Power took a 90-79 lead, then in a turnaround indicative of the game as a whole, the very next jam would see yet another wild swing in momentum as Fort Wayne picked up 15 points on a power jam to inch ahead; with Dust Bunny still in the box, they seemed to have control of the volatile game. But on the back of some strong pack defense, Dust Bunny was able to spring from the pack to steal 9 points; it was a blow that seemed to finally wrestle control of the game away from the hosts. What followed was CN Power’s strongest series of jams of the bout: clean, tight controlled packs led by great individual efforts from Lady Gagya and Nasher the Smasher, and patient conservative jamming from CN Power’s strong three-skater rotation, saw Toronto finally take control of things and pull ahead 134-96 with only eleven minutes left.

But in a game that was full of momentum changes and full penalty boxes, Fort Wayne was down but not out, and they continued to chip away at an increasingly undisciplined CN Power, but while they would outscore CN Power 42-17 in the final ten minutes of the game, they couldn’t climb all the way back, and the ToRD skaters held on for a very important 151-138 upset that could see them climb as high was 14th in the North Central rankings.

**Watch the archived bout here. Next up for CN Power is a home date on March 3rdagainst the Eastern Regions Roc City Roc Stars.

It was a busy weekend in the WFTDA, with eleven sanctioned bouts.


North Central

In other North Central matchups this weekend, Cincinnati (8th) and Grand Raggidy (11th) met in a hugely entertaining showdown  that saw Cincinnati fight their way back from a first half deficit to prevent the upset and win 140-116. For Grand Raggidy, a team that has been on the cusp of the North Central playoffs for the past two years, it was an important step in the right direction. And after a big loss to CN Power to close out 2011, 21st ranked Derby City continued their slide, getting crushed by 13th ranked Bleeding Heartland  220-76.

Despite being an apprentice league, Columbia has already knocked off two WFTDA teams this year.

East Region

Montreal’s New Skids on the Block (6th) kicked off their 2012 season on Friday in a non-sanctioned bout against Boston (7th); the mixed Boston squad was no match for the Montreal skaters who are hungry after two years of amazing regular seasons have led to disappointing playoff runs and skated away with a 172-83 victory. It was another unsanctioned bout that actually saw the biggest upset of the weekend. WFTDA Apprentice league Columbia Quadsquad All Stars (who began their season with an upset over 16th ranked Dominion) recorded a monstrous upset  in Carolina, stunning the 8th ranked Carolina Rollergirls 99-88. Carolina is also ranked 21st in the DNN Power Rankings, so the East, which seems to produce a stunning playoff-bound upstart every year (Montreal in ’10, London last year), could have their “next-big-thing” in Columbia.

In other Eastern Region action, 13th ranked Providence barely held off a challenge from 22nd ranked Green Mountain Derby Dames 174-161, only securing the win on the final jam. To continue the theme of surprising results, 25thranked Charlotte Roller Girls fell to unranked Lowcountry Highrollers 153-81.

11th ranked Jacksonville helped their playoff chances with win over 9th ranked Gold Coast.

South Central

The South Central was busy on Saturday night as well.  In a minor upset, Jacksonville (11th) blew past Gold Coast (9) 186-97 in a game with playoff implications; Unranked Des Moines handled themselves well in a 165-89 loss to 10th ranked Omaha (leaving Omaha clinging to that final playoff spot), while 16th ranked Memphis was able to hold off the Oklahoma Victory Dolls 87-77. Springfield (25th) took down Oklahoma City (27th) 204-76.


There were a few intriguing inter-region matchups this weekend as well. In a stiff test, the South Central’s 4th ranked Atlanta Roller Girls held off the challenge from the Eastern Region’s 10th ranked Maine Roller Derby 181-114. Tri-City Thunder, ranked 16th in the North Central visited Roc City Roc Stars (17th in the East) and proved to be a handful. Only late in the game were the Thunder able to pull away from the Roc Stars, winning. 124-92


Finally, a big congratulations to the Yukon Roller Girls who beat Juneau in a cross-border, northern showdown, 164-161 in what by all accounts was an extraordinary game.  Yukon has a busy schedule lined up for 2012 featuring bouts against Fairbanks, Red Deer and Reign Valley.

ToRD Kicks off Pride with Clam Slam 3!

This was the third annual Clam Slam and featured skaters from 8 different leagues. (Photo by Greg Russell)

Vagine Regime Canada 94 vs. Clam Diggers 141

Toronto’s Pride festivities started this weekend, but before things could get underway downtown, ToRD’s 3rd annual Clam Slam kicked things off at the Hangar in Downsview Park on Thursday night. An all-queer all-star game featuring skaters from clear across North America, the bout did not disappoint, and while intricate strategies may have been too much to expect from two lineups thrown together for the event, the fans were treated to a fast-paced, hard hitting bout that often had the crowd out of their seats. In the end the ToRD-heavy lineup of the  Clam Diggers, perhaps because of the familiarity, was able to pull ahead for the 47 point win over Vagine Regime Canada.

Former ToRD skater Sista Fista kicked things off jamming for the Clam Diggers. (Photo by Joe Mac)

A player very familiar to ToRD fans—former Death Track Doll standout Sista Fista—kicked things off jamming for the Diggers, taking lead jam and putting the first points on the board against ToRD rookie Snatch Bandit (AKA: Rug Burn of the Betties).  Other visiting skaters stepped it up as well, as the fleet-footed Lady Cuntessa (all the way from Yukon Roller Girls) led the push back by the Vagine Regime who kept things tight in the early going. Great individual pack work from ToRD’s BruiseBerry Pie and Tri-City’s Anita Martini along with smart pivoting from ToRD’s Rebel Rock-It allowed the Regime to keep pace, and a big pick up from Rose City’s (Portland, OR) excellent Mercy kept things tight, 30-28 at the midway point of the first half.

Dyna Hurtcha had a big night jamming for the Clam Diggers. (Photo by Kevin Konnyu)

Whenever the Vagine Regime threatened to take control though, the Clam Diggers stepped up. As the first half began to wane, it became clear that the Diggers’ blockers were gelling quickly and as the half wore on they began to assert their control. Strong on-track leadership from pivots Tara Part (ToRD) and Mirambo (Forest City), helped guide jammers Dyna Squirtcha and Brim Stone through the pack, and very quickly the Diggers reasserted themselves and stole back the momentum, pulling ahead 41-29. Looking to add a more physical element to the jam line, the Regime responded with BruiseBerry Pie, but there was only so much she could against the Diggers’ onslaught. Despite taking a consistent pounding from Tri-City’s Sofanda Beatin and ToRD’s Nasher the Smasher, BruiseBerry Pie managed to pick up 9 points on a late Regime power jam that kept things within reach with the Diggers up 68-47 at half.

Despite the all-star nature of the bout, the referees were calling an extremely tight game which unfortunately led to some strategic bench managing in the second half as a handful of skaters found themselves under threat of expulsion. Unfortunately, a lot of those skaters were on the Vagine Regime and this hampered their ability to make a game of it. While individuals such as the towering Mercy, the scrappy young skater Pandemic Pearl (from Tri-City’s new TKOs), and ToRD’s Brim Stone (who provided some crafting jamming) looked strong all bout, the Vagine Regime couldn’t handle the surprisingly dominant pack work of the Diggers, who threatened to pull away with it, up 87-47 only eight minutes into the half.

Star blocker Mega Bouche brought the fans to their feet as she jammed late in the bout. (Photo by Kevin Konnyu)

Fan favourite Mega Bouche brought the fans to their feet as she tried to respond with the star for the Regime, but a massive jammer takeout from GTAR’s blocker Newfie Bullet slowed the comeback, it nonetheless brought her team back into the bout and gave the bench some hope for a late-game comeback. A Snatch Bandit powerjam threatened even more of a comeback, only to have the devastating due of Sofanda Beatin’ and Nasher the Smasher neutralize the less-experienced jammer and force an eventual call after their penalized jammer (Slam-Her) returned to the track. With ten minutes remaining and continued dominating pack work by the likes of MTLRD’s Nameless Whorror, the Diggers had pulled ahead 121-71, and were in clear control when, eventually, the penalties caught up to the Regime, seeing both Mercy and BruiseBerry Pie (two of the more effective Vagine Regime skaters on the night) ejected for accumulation of penalties. That ended the comeback hopes for the Regime who found themselves short benched. Nonetheless, this did not dull the festive atmosphere of the event and the Regime played hard until the end, and finished on a high note with blocker Back Alley Sally jamming successfully on end-of-game powerjam to end things on a high note despite the 141-94 loss.

Despite great individual performances from the Regime, the Clam Diggers had the advantange in the packs. (Photo by Greg Russell)

Scores though, are mostly irrelevant in this event, with fun, entertaining roller derby the main goal, and in that way, this bout was, as usual for a Clam Slam, an extraordinary success. Whether it was experienced skaters from some of the top teams in WFTDA (Rose City’s Mercy, Montreal’s Nameless Whorror and Silicon Valley’s Stevie Knickers) or young skaters from home teams (ToRD’s Snatch Bandit, Fox Smoulder and Pandemic Pearl from Tri-City’s TKOs), the skaters provided top-level competition and fast-paced entertainment. And for the third year in a row, Pride was kicked off in grand style with yet another successful Clam Slam.


Vagine Regime Canada Clam Diggers
Anita Martini (Tri-City Roller Girls)
Mercy (Rose City Rollers)
Lady Cuntessa (Yukon Roller Girls)
Mega Mouth (ToRD)
Rebel Rock-it (ToRD)
Hot Roller (ToRD)
Bruiseberry Pie (ToRD)
Snatch Bandit (ToRD)
Stevie Knickers (Silicon Valley Roller Girls)
BackAlley Sally (Forest City Derby Girls)
Aston Martini (ToRD)
Chronic (ToRD)
Pandemic Pearl (Tri-City Roller Girls)Bench Managers: The Big Cheese & Lucid Lou (ToRD)
Nameless Whorror (MTLRD)
Brim Stone (ToRD)
Getcha Kicks (GTAR)
Nasher the Smasher (ToRD)
Tara Part (ToRD)
Dyna Squirtcha (ToRD)
Pubilee (ToRD)
Sista Fista (Dodge City Rollergirls)
Chromosexual (ToRD)
Fox Smoulder (Tri-City Roller Girls)
Slam-Her (ToRD)
Sofanda Beatin’ (Tri-City Roller Girls)
Newfie Bullet (GTAR)
U-Haul (ToRD)
Mirambo (Forest City Derby Girls)
P Doddy (ToRD)Bench Managers: Sonic Doom & Wolverina (ToRD)

The ToRD.TV crew boutcast the Clam Slam Live via Canuck Derby TV. Check out the archive here.