QCRG Weekend Recap: Saucies Survive Scare From Dollies, Furies Go 2-1 at Beaver Fever
by Dylan Powell - posted 4:26 pm, May 11, 2015
QCRG fans spent Friday night following twitter feeds and sending text messages trying to keep track of the Dollies and Saucies home league game at Riverworks while also following the Lake Effect Furies bout against Tri City at the Beaver Fever tournament in Kitchener-Waterloo. Dollies fans at Riverworks saw the team build a nice lead against the Saucies only to have the Saucies finish the bout on a run and skate away with a 179-156 win, while Furies fans sunk in their seats in disbelief as Tri City managed a 175-163 upset.
For the Dollies and Saucies the game is a lead up to their playoff matchup on June 12th. The closeness of the bout illustrates that the Dollies have closed the gap from last year and if the Saucies needed a wake up call this was it. The Dollies will look to build off of this momentum and work on closing out the game against a well-coached and experienced Saucies team.
As for wake up calls, the Furies got theirs on Friday night in their opening bout of the Beaver Fever tournament. The Furies built up a nice lead to start the game only to fall back into bad habits that we saw in their previous losses to Steel City and Ohio – penalties, slow transition between defensive and offensive blocking, and panic. The team settled down a bit in the second half, but still couldn’t pull off a win. Tri City’s physical and fast recycling, alongside their top jammers who work with little space on the outside lines, make them a tough match for the Furies. Still, more than being beat by Tri City, the Furies beat themselves in this bout by not correcting those bad habits. For Tri City, the Furies were their highest ranked opponents for the weekend and they threw everything they had at pulling out this game. They were successful, but it cost them for the rest of the tournament as they fell to Rideau and struggled in their win against Green Mt.
The Furies rebounded on Saturday with a dominant win against a depleted Green Mt. squad that was playing its second bout of the day. They led from the first jam and never looked back. Librawlian had 30-0 and 23-0 jams in the bout to put it out of reach, rookie jammer Murphy rebounded with a strong and penalty free bout and overall the team played more disciplined and inspired. They lost their focus for 2 of the final 3 jams of the bout – taking back to back jammer penalties and giving up 19-0 and 23-0 – but still managed a 227-108 win.
Playing the final bout of the tournament on Sunday against Rideau Valley, everyone left in the crowd was expecting a very close bout. Rideau had beaten Green Mt. by a larger spread and also beaten Tri City in a game they controlled. Both teams had skaters out with injuries, and before the bout a broken skate almost kept InSINerator out of the game. If the Furies were nervous it didn’t show. They started the bout on a massive run that stretched to 155-64 at half. As both teams left the track at half the wear and tear of the tournament was noticeable – everyone had a bag of ice, a limp or were holding a shoulder or an arm. For Rideau, this was their 3rd bout in two days. They never gave up in the bout, but they didn’t have the energy to climb back into the game. The Furies struggled with some jammer penalties in that second half but the blocking core played their best game of the year and shut the door on any hope Rideau might have had, closing out the game 233-132. The handshake line to finish the game featured a Rideau skater in a wheelchair – a sign of just how banged up both of these teams were.
For her solid play throughout the tournament Brawl was awarded MVP Jammer for the tournament and the strong finish by the Furies should keep them in position for their first ever Division 1 Playoff appearance later this summer. The weekend played out eerily similar to the teams Division 2 playoff appearance in the same building last year where they were upset in their first game against Gold Coast only to rebound and finish strong at 2-1. A 3-0 weekend would have been nice, but more importantly the Furies managed to correct and lessen many of the issues they have been struggling with for while in the span of a weekend. The addition of the “5 strong” motto alongside “1 team” seems to be helping keep skaters on the track and out of the penalty box and that is the key to this team’s success more than anything.
Stat of the Weekend: The Furies came out of Beaver Fever 2-1, with a point differential of +208 and a +31.8 rating on flat track stats. Tri City finished 2-1, +37, +9.1 FTS, Rideau 2-1, +67, -24.2 FTS and Green Mt. 0-3, -312, -16.7 FTS. Although they lost in an upset on Friday night, the Furies rebounded and made the most of the tournament. That is a testament to their coaching staff and also their professional approach and preparation. They made lemonade.
Crowd Assist: Tri City captured an awesome hit from Vajenna Warrior in the first half of the Rideau game. Vajenna tracks the Rideau jammer around the turn and meets her just as she breaks through on the outside to knock her out and keep herself in bounds. Vajenna had been goated up front, but used it as an opportunity to surprise the jammer. The Furies blockers don’t even need to cycle her back because she has the wind knocked right out of her and the hit scrambles Rideau’s defense so Brawl can easily skate through. It was beautiful and if you listen closely you can hear your humble narrator cheer her on.