Saucies and Knockouts Advance to 2015 QCRG Championship
by Dylan Powell - posted 1:00 pm, June 17, 2015
QCRG’s first doubleheader of the year saw the Nickel City Knockouts and the Saucies advance to the QCRG Championship with victories against the Alley Kats (200-145) and the Dollies (199-134). For the second straight year the Saucies and KO’s will meet in the Championship and the KO’s will also be looking for their fourth straight QCRG Championship.
The Alley Kats put up a good fight against the KO’s in the first bout of the night – closing the gap to 40 in the 2nd half before the KO’s pulled away. Falling by 55, the Kats almost halved my prediction of a 109 point spread. Immediately after the end of the bout the Kats bench reminded me of this in the crowd. I was happy to serve as motivation for the Kats – who blocked well, held goats, and kept the penalties down.
Although they didn’t win a game all season, the Kats provided fans with lots of great moments. The final was no different. Down by 60 in the second half Kats jammer Bang GRRang was forced to sit for the rest of the game by the Refs and Medics after two scary hits to the head. An emotional Bang wanted to keep playing. The heart of this team made them fun to watch. They never quit. The bench also seemed to tighten up and become a “team” more as the season progressed. Moves in the final game, like shifting Evil Lyn to pivot, also looked brilliant as her jamming experience increased the Kats ability to open up assists for Kats jammers. Hopefully all of this can carry over to the next year.
For the KO’s, their blocking ensured that the Kats jammers struggled to gain any momentum. Although they struggled with penalties, the breathing room created by frustrating Kats jammers also allowed for the KO’s to broaden their jammer rotation – featuring rookie Jules Burn for much of the second half. Although you would expect for the KO’s to win by more, they controlled the pace from beginning to end and still should be positioned well going into the Championship. In the long term, if they can develop that 4-5 jammer spot with a rookie jammer like Jules Burn, that will just mean more chances that teams will never see a jam where Brawl, Ivana or Fisty are not on the track. For opposing teams, that is intimidating.
In the second bout of the doubleheader the Saucies pulled away and dominated in the second half after just a 6 point halftime lead. Penalties and a momentum swing that the Dollies just could not stop broke the bout wide open and saw what was expected to be the closer bout of the night end up with a 65 point spread (I predicted a 13 point win for the Saucies). Missing veteran blockers Heiny and Celery, the Dollies struggled with communication and team blocking in that second half. The Saucies tight jammer rotation and discipline stretched out the lead while jammer penalties handcuffed the Dollies as they tried to get back into the bout with aggressiveness. Dollies jammer Murphy had a big game and helped keep the bout close, but penalties and the Saucies blocking ensured that the Dollies couldn’t build off of it.
The Saucies head into the Championship with a tight 1-4 jammer rotation, a blocking core that blocks as a team, and with a roster of experienced coaches and skaters. It will be very hard for the Saucies to upset the reigning champion KO’s, but they are the best positioned to not get rattled and be a threat. They also should have some extra motivation in the form of bragging rights. In the history of QCRG the Saucies won the first four straight championships. After the Dollies won their only championship in 2011, the KO’s have won three straight and will be fighting for their fourth. The Saucies claim to the most home league championships is on the line.
KO’s v Saucies – 178 / 145
*Superfans – send me your predictions! firstname.lastname@example.org
Doors open at 7pm at Riverworks on Friday and you can find tickets here – http://www.qcrg.net/event/2015-qcrg-cup-championship/