The Nickel City Knockouts defeated the Devil Dollies 214 – 154 in QCRG home league play on Friday night. That 60 point gulf largely gained in the 5 jams before the first half ended where penalties for the Dollies saw the Knockouts finish on a 54-5 run. Outside this, the Dollies largely held their own against the three time QCRG Champions and even managed to claw back in the second half to outscoring the Knockouts 109-88 in the final frame.
This should be something for the Dollies to build on, and a wake up call for the Knockouts who tightened their jammer rotation in the second half but were still outscored. Pressure on the Knockouts also increased their use of Librawlian – putting her in doing double duty as a jammer and blocker to the point of fouling out.
Dollies Jammers Griff and Ashes were net positives for the bout, while Chickadeemolish made good use of star passes and strategic jamming. Vanilla Creamz did an excellent job going head to head against Librawlian in 5 of her 6 jams. Brawl, Ivana and Abercrombie and Fists were all net positives jamming for the Knockouts. Ivana did a great job throughout the entire game maximizing her time on the track – laying hard hits as a blocker and playing a consistent game jamming in the first and second half.
Blockers for the Dollies had a much better showing after the previous loss to the Saucies – with better communication, more three walls, fewer penalties and more strategic blocking this time around. This was the fewest points, and the closest spread, that the Dollies have had against the KO’s in two years and the blocking played a big roll. HerHeiny Granger and Chickadeemolish were central in creating a more focused and communicative blocking core. For the KO’s, the bout preview held up as their hard hitting blockers threw very hard hits. Fists, Lambchop and Ivana were menaces for Dollies jammers – recycling fast and throwing big hits on jammers just as they were about to break through. The KO’s blockers are all about creating that sense of false hope and demoralizing opposing jammers.
Overall this was a bout that should help both teams going forward. The KO’s should realize that the rest of the league is catching up as they are still winning games, but the margins are shrinking. Over a longer home league season this year, and with a small roster, they will be more prone to fatigue and penalties in tight games. Focus over the span of an entire game will be crucial if they want to stay unbeaten in 2015. For the Dollies, the bout showed the young team what they are capable of against the best in the league. After a tough first half they didn’t quit and they pulled off some of the best derby the Dollies have played in years over that final 30 minutes.
Stat of the Night: Brawl had 19 jams for the game, of the 18 where she started on the jam line she got lead jam 16 times. Overall the KO’s dominated on lead – grabbing lead in 30 of the 40 jams – but Brawl’s 88% lead percentage ensured that she controlled much of the game.
Crowd Assist: Injured KO skater Smackie Onasis sang the National Anthems to a good sized crowd at Riverworks to start the bout. As she began singing the Canadian anthem an older gentleman was walking into Riverworks and joined along with a really beautiful voice that matched Smackie’s slow and emotional delivery. When it came time for the American National Anthem the crowd joined in, pushed by Smackie, this man, and guest KO’s coach NY Senator Marc Panepinto. I am really not one for national anthems, but the way this organically played out was really special.
I couldn’t find a great crowd video/shot from last night, so you get another beauty from bout photographer Chris Kalisiak. Lots of interesting things going on in this photo, but I would like to direct attention to KO’s coach Supernova who looks very angelic and proud mama-ish in the far left corner as she watches Brawl jam.