by Dylan Powell - posted 6:07 pm, January 24, 2016
The Queen City Roller Girls’ move to Riverworks in 2015 was a major effort and in the move the league downsized and retired their B Travel Team – the B Lo Zeros, for the year. Fast forward to October and the Lake Effect Furies travelled to Omaha, Nebraska for their first ever Division 1 Playoff appearance. In their first game they pulled off a last jam victory against long time rivals CN Power from Toronto, On (Canada). CN Power was short handed with injuries, retirements and skaters who couldn’t travel, but their handful of B Team call ups kept them in the game and had them oh so close to a win. In that game Furies jammer InSINerator wrenched her neck as she fell forward on a blocker. She played through the injury in that game and later against Gotham, but stiffness forced her to sit against No Coast. Travelling with an already short jammer roster, the Furies suffered. Both of these games, and the entire experience that weekend, spoke to the need for the league to revive its Travel B Team and that became top priority in the offseason. Tryouts began less than a month later and the roster was set by mid November.
Officially renamed the Subzero Sirens, the B Team set their sights on this first bout against the B Team for the Hammer City Roller Girls in Hamilton, On. This was the first time these leagues B Teams would square off, and the first time the leagues played each other since the Furies beat HCRG 263-105 in an unsanctioned game in June 2014. With a whole new team and coaches, and in a new venue, the outcome of the game felt wide open.
The Sirens immediately set the tone though with a massive 19-0 jam to start the bout and they pushed that to a 87-22 advantage 14 jams in, capitalizing on 4 Hammer City jammer penalties. Hammer City responded, playing even for the rest of the half and putting up 59 points to the Sirens 124. Giving up 16/23 lead jams to the Sirens, and taking 5 jammer penalties in that first half the Harlots needed to regroup. Sirens jammers Double Barryl Cheryl and Dana Scullcrusher dominated in that first half going 26/4 and 61/1 (!) and a combined 11/11 on lead jams. The Harlots would need an answer for them.
The 2nd half started off tight, but the Harlots slowly chipped away at the lead capitalizing on Sirens penalties. They turned 3 Sirens jammer penatlies and 2 powerstarts into a run and pulled the bout to 171-132 for the Sirens with over 10 minutes left. Sirens blockers finally dug in and stayed out of the box, while Sirens jammer and Co-Captain McCreadie answered with an 18-4 jam to stop their run. The Harlots wouldn’t get close again.
Although a 70 point victory, the Harlots finished with a solid 2nd half putting up 101 points to the Sirens 106 and overall they matched the Sirens after initially giving up that 87-22 run in the 1st. They increased their lead jams in the 2nd half to 11/26 and their jammers played a clean and disciplined 2nd half to at least give them a chance. 3 of their jammers held net positive ratings in that 2nd half and their jammer fErineheit put up 54 points and a +8 rating for the bout.
The Harlots blockers were able to minimize the damage in the 2nd half, but they could not contain Dana Scullcrusher who went 96/9 for the bout with an 11/13 lead jam count. A debut not just for the Sirens, this was also a debut for this Niagara Roller Girls transfer who is a Travel A/B rookie this year.
Dana Scullcrusher on the power jam! If you’re not here at the game, this is the awesomeness that you’re missing! pic.twitter.com/KZYzbjSTcX
— QueenCityRollerGirls (@qcrg) January 23, 2016
After building that solid lead, the Sirens did a great job of bending but not breaking, responding to runs from the Harlots and building the lead up again. Veteran blockers like C0-Captain Celery Stalk-HER did a great job of calming their team down in the 2nd half to regroup. Coaches forced jammers to try and time their call offs, which led to some points being stolen by Harlots jammers, but the experience will pay off and Sirens jammers played focused for the entire bout managing to steal points on jams without lead as well. Overall, with a roster of many young and inexperienced skaters and everyone playing together for the first time, this was a solid win for the Sirens. Getting into the habit of making “every jam count” as it does in the WFTDA weighted rankings that the Furies play under, will take time as will developing that killer instinct to bury teams and not let them back into bouts. Cutting down on penalties, holding walls without rolling, and bridging will be a focus for the blockers and playing under control with power jams and call offs will be a focus for jammers (the Sirens jammers took 2 penalties in the game while on powerjams).
The bout saw a great sized crowd and also pointed to how the location at Riverworks is becoming a hub for surrounding leagues. Non-skating officials (NSO’s) and referees came from Niagara Roller Girls, Hammer City, Roc City and Ithaca and a nice sized Canadian contingent was on hand cheering on Hammer City and also NRG transfers like May Bringdowndahaus, McCreadie and Dana Scullcrusher.
The next QCRG bout is this Friday and it is a charity bout for Buffalo Dream Weavers with the #Icecanos squaring off against the #IceCars. The league is asking for donations of hats, gloves and scarves on game day. You can learn more about the event at its facebook event page and you can get tickets at http://www.qcrg.net/event/charity-mash-up-7/