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Bombshell Battalion Sink Queen’s Court With A Second Half Comeback

Credit: Robert Kerr (Dark Images Photo)

Credit: Robert Kerr (Dark Images Photo)

The Bombshell Battalion, the B Team for Alliston, Ontario’s Renegade Derby Dames, finished their about against Queen City Roller Girls Queen’s Court on a 88-39 run to skate off with a 181-158 victory on Sunday. The bout marked the first time QCRG hosted another league this season, and also marked the league debuts for TeKill’Ya Sunrise, Mortu Mary, Schmitty Schmitty Bang Bang and QCRG’s first graduated Jr league skater Veggy Cowgirl. 

The Queen’s Court, made up of 1st and 2nd year league skaters, got out to solid lead in the first half going on a 29-0 run to capitalize on the Battalions jammer penalties. Pushing that lead to 32 points at 60-28 would be the most comfortable margin for either team in the game, and the Battalion slowly chipped away at that lead to pull to 20 at the end of the first half 99-79. With a jammer penalty differential of 4/1 and a lead jam favouring Queen’s Court 14/26, the Battalion were lucky to be down just 20 at half. 

The second half started off tense and saw a tight bout. Only 35 total points were scored through the first 11 jams of the half and the Queen’s Court held a 119-94 advantage with just under 20 minutes left. The Queen’s Court collapse would begin in the 12th jam as CurlySlew for the Battalion grabbed lead and 9 points on TeKill’Ya Sunrise – pulling the bout within 16 points. After Double Barryl Cheryl grabbed lead and 4 points for the Queen’s Court to respond, the Battalion managed a 20-0 score on a jam that would have fans searching for their WFTDA rule books.

Queen’s Court jammer Raspoutine had her jammer star cover fall off as she made her way through her initial pass and as she skated around to pick it back up and put it on her head the Queen’s Court blockers couldn’t make sense of the chaos. Raspoutine would pass all Battalion blockers, but was still held up until she star passed to Sigourney Cleaver. This finally forced a call off, but not before the Refs scored 15-4 points for the Battalion and then corrected that to 20-0. Tie game.

The Court responded with a 14-2 run to build their lead back up before TeKill’Ya Sunrise grabbed two jammer penalties in the same jam and the Battalion went 18-0 to take the lead for the first time since the 3rd jam of the bout. The Court would again respond pulling the lead down to 2, before their jammer MegaLO-MEINia was called on a track cut and Battalion jammer Laya Down capitalized with a back breaking 22-0 jam. They pulled that lead down to 14 heading into the final jam, and Battalion jammer CurlySlew was called for a penalty in that jam, but it was too late. 

Fans got a close and exciting game. 19 of the games 53 jams were called off before either team could score 4 points, with 10 of those either 0-0 or 0-1 jammer races. The penalty advantage the Court held in the first half swung the other way in the 2nd and the Battalion did a better job of capitalizing on those mistakes – the Court were 51/34 on powerjams while the Battalion went 55/4. Perhaps the most impressive stats of the game are the 2nd half stats for all of the Battalion jammers. They ran a 3 jammer rotation for the entire bout, there was no drop off and consistency throughout, and they managed to play more disciplined in the 2nd half. CurlySlew led them in that second half scoring 48 points on 6/9 lead jams and going +32 in the half taking only one penalty after taking 3 in the first half. 

The inexperience of the Queen’s Court skaters showed throughout parts of the bout, but for the most part these skaters looked at home playing against experienced skaters from Renegade Derby Dames which included Amazon and Bad “D”Cisions from their 2015 A Travel Team and some skaters from surrounding leagues. The debut of Veggy Cowgirl in the adult league was special. She held her own going 4/4 in points on 3 jams with 1 lead and as a blocker she did an amazing job tracking the opposing jammer and drew a couple track cut calls. TeKill’Ya Sunrise also had a strong start in the first half in her debut before running out of steam. This bout for the Court saw 7 of their skaters playing their 3rd bout in 8 days – the 7 Dollies rookies on the roster – and the second half collapse makes a bit more sense thinking about how their legs most likely felt like cement. 

Skating through the fatigue Double Barryl Cheryl kept up her solid start to 2016 grabbing 7/9 lead jam statuses in the game and going 35/2 on points for the best +/- in the bout. The move to jam her more in the 2nd half pulled her out of the blocking core though and the strong game her and Veggy were having blocking in the first half didn’t carry over. Erin Go Braless and Raspoutine had solid bouts going for 50 and 36 points, but the Battalion were able to capitalize on their inexperience at key points. The Court jammers struggled with call offs and clock management, giving up points with lead jam status or before the Battalion jammer had made their initial pass, but they also fought hard to steal points on many jams as well. The in game feel, especially in a close and aggressive bout like this, will definitely help them work through those panic moments and momentum swings. These bouts for the Queen’s Court are about bout experience and a game like this, complete with freak scenarios, back and forth lead changes and a rowdy crowd, are perfect for the development of these skaters – even if it is in a loss. For anyone interested in viewing footage of the bout you can find bout footage on the QCRG youtube channel. 

The focus now moves to the next visiting Canadian team as the Lake Effect Furies B Travel Team the Subzero Sirens make their debut against the Hammer City Rollers B Team, The Hammer City Harlots, on Saturday January 23rd at Riverworks. Doors open at 1pm and first whistle is at 2pm. You can get tickets online here


QCRG Week 2: Future of QCRG to Take to the Track Against Two Canadian Teams

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Since our week 1 preview the Queen City Roller Girls have set a new all time attendance record and kicked off their 2016 home league season with two competitive bouts that saw the Dollies beat the Saucies to open the Season and the Alley Kats beat the Dollies for their first win since 2012. That down-to-the-last jam victory for the Kats offered three lead changes in the final ten minutes and will be remembered as one of the most exciting bouts in the history of the league. By any measure, Week 1 was a resounding success. 

Week 2 shifts to the Queen’s Court and the revived B Travel Team the Subzero Sirens. The Queen’s Court, 1st and 2nd year skaters, will take on the Renegade Derby Dames from Alliston, On (Canada) on Sunday January 17th at 2pm and the Subzero Sirens will take on the Hammer City Harlots B Team from Hamilton, On (Canada) on Saturday January 23rd at 2pm. These bouts will be the first time QCRG hosts another league in 2016, and the first time visiting leagues will get to bout in a fully finished Riverworks facility. 

The Queen’s Court roster for Sunday includes many 2nd year skaters (home league rookies); MegaLO-MEINia, Molly Malign, Double Barryl, Percipihatin’, Sigourney Cleaveher, Cinister, Raspoutine, Erin GoBraless, and Skarpinski. Rachel Tension, formerly Jaded, is returning after some years off and will be playing in the bout and TeKill’Ya Sunrise, Mortu Mary, Schmitty Schmitty Bang Bang and Veggy Cowgirl will all be making their league debuts on the track on Sunday. For Veggy Cowgirl this is also an important milestone as this is her first adult league bout after being the first Queen City Jr Roller Girl to graduate to the home leagues. 

The visiting team from Alliston, the Renegade Derby Dames, are a WFTDA certified league and ranked #277. The team has struggled to get wins over the last few years, squeaking out close wins over Tri City’s Plan B Team in 2014 and the Nickel City Derby Dames and the South Simcoe Rollers in 2015. They kicked off their 2016 season with a l0ss to Forest City and look to be on a small upswing coming into this bout. This should make for a tough and close bout on Sunday. 

The following Saturday the Subzero Sirens host the Hammer City B Team, the Hammer City Harlots, for an afternoon bout at Riverworks. The league ran a B Team in 2013 and 2014 named the B Lo Zero’s, but disbanded the B Team before the 2015 season prioritizing the Furies and the move to Riverworks. After seeing the success of other competitive B Team programs, like the excellent use of B Team skaters by rivals Toronto Roller Derby’s CN Power at Division 1 Playoffs in Omaha, NB, reviving the B Travel Team became a league priority. The league took a large team name list down to 3, voted on it, and decided to revive the Subzero Sirens name – a name that was originally intended to be the name of the Alley Kats way back in 2009. 

The Sirens roster includes 2015 Furies: Celery Stalkher, Her Heiny Granger, Wrecks Kitten alongside rookies, Chet UpStandUp, Double Barryl, May Bringdowndahouse, McCreadie, Molly Malign, and TeKill’ya Sunrise. The rest of the roster is rounded out by veterans NicNugget, Wailing Wench, Maggie de Sade, Chickadeemolish, Brutali-Tease, Jules Burn, June Cleaveher, and SlamUWell Jackson. The B Lo Zeros were 4-1 over their history and this new version of the B Team will be looking to be competitive against top tier B Teams for D1/D2 Playoff Teams. 

The Hammer City Harlots will be making the trip down the QEW for their first bout of the 2016 season on the 23rd. According to Flat Track Stats the Harlots went 3-4 in 2015 with most bouts being blowouts either way – only one of those bouts was within 90 points. The Hammer City program has been running consistently since 2007, so the league has continuity and experience on their side, but the Subzero Sirens will be looking to make a statement in their first bout. The Sirens and the Queen’s Court want these Canadian teams leaving feeling upset about more then just the exchange rate. 

You can always find tickets at qcrg.net/tickets


New Year, New Alley Kats: Kats Pull Off Thrilling Last Jam Victory Over the Devil Dollies

Cred: Chris Kalisiak (CK Photographic Systems)

Cred: Chris Kalisiak (CK Photographic Systems)

January 28, 2012. That is the date of the last Alley Kats victory. They squeaked out a 141-135 win that night over a Suicidal Saucies team that would not win a game in 2012. When that bout happened Whitney Houston was still with us, the Occupy Movement was still grabbing headlines, and Lindy Ruff was still the coach of the Sabres. 18 losses later and the Alley Kats got to celebrate their first victory in almost four calendar years with a 164-161 win while a snow storm raged outside. The team, fans and their coaches hugged, cheered and some even cried. With 9 returning skaters this year and 5 skaters who have been with the team since that last win, this was an emotional and well deserved victory. 

It almost didn’t happen though. After a tight first four jams, with three lead changes, the Kats managed a 30-0 run over the next 3 jams to pull away 46-17. The Dollies cut back into the lead, but then gave up a 14-4 powerjam and a 25-0 jam by Ashes t’ Ashes. This was the safest lead of the night at 54 points, but it only lasted a short while as the Kats gave up a 33-0 run to the Dollies later on in the half when they got bogged down with jammer penalties. Sitting 105-89 at the half the Kats led, but they opened the door for the Dollies to get back into the bout. With a close first half lead jammer status 11/9 favouring the Dollies and jammer penalties 3 a side, it was already looking like the end was going to be close. 

The second half saw the Dollies grab 7 of the first 10 lead jammer statuses with the Dollies managing to tie the bout at 118 before giving up another jammer penalty. After allowing the Kats to build a small 9 point lead  they stormed back on a 21-4 run of their own. The final 10 jams of the second half saw a tie, three lead changes, and 3 jammer penalties. The Kats would push back grabbing 6 of 10 lead jams and setting the stage for the final two jams.

The Kats were down 158-153 with 1:42 left. Head Coach Shockher called a time out and then sent out Ashes t’ Ashes to line up against Double Barryl. Barryl to that point had a stellar 12/15 lead jams. Ashes quickly grabbed lead jammer though and called the jam with 4 points, 50 seconds left and more importantly before Double Barryl could score. 158-157 Dollies, coach Señor Wiener responded with his own time out to freeze the clock and rest his jammer before sending Double Barryl back out against Kats jammer Evil Lyn. These two had lined up against each other 5 times in this bout with Double Barryl claiming all leads and flexing a 30/8 points advantage. Evil Lyn had the crowd and a 4-3 pack advantage though. As the jam began Evil Lyn stretched out the Dollies blockers while the Kats swallowed Double Barryl. In a one on one match up against Dollies blocker Lip Service, Evil Lyn bunny hopped over her on the inside in turn 2 to claim lead. She raced around the track and made another pass before Double Barryl could get through, but still needed to run down the clock. As she came around for her third pass, Double Barryl was able to grab three points, but the game clock had run down so Evil Lyn hit the pack and called the jam – 7 to 3 for the Kats. The comeback was complete, the Kats win 164-161. 

The crowd at Riverworks, who took in the bout during a snow storm, celebrated the win – even the ones who didn’t realize the gravity of the victory for the Kats. Outside of the 2015 Championship bout, this was the biggest nail bitter that the league has had in its new digs and the fans who could make it out got to see something special. 

For the Kats jammers Karsmashian led the way with 64 points and Ashes t’ Ashes had the best +/- with a +39 performance and the most lead jams with 8. The Kats jammers all played great, but it was also the teamwork of their blockers that made this win possible. Kats veterans Flocking Girl Scout, PaulverizHer, Knot Nice and newcomers lead by Ana Killingspree and Half Pint did a great job of holding the Dollies jammers and landing punishing hits both on Dollies jammers and on Dollies blockers to open up holes for their own jammers. Playing against a team that just had a bout 5 days prior, the Kats used their size and strength to disrupt the Dollies and give them a taste of their own medicine (the Dollies played and won with a similar style against the Saucies). They were able to target the two anchors of the Dollies blocking core – Chickadeemolish and Lip Service – and make sure their jammers were not recycled after being so close to getting free. 

On the Dollies side the bout saw another dominating bout from Double Barryl going for 74 points, 12 of 17 leads, and a +43 overall. Jules had a solid night right behind her, but most remarkable is the second half that rookie jammer Raspoutine had. After struggling in the first half with no lead jams, she returned in the 2nd half to grab 50% lead jams and +6 rating that included a handful of crucial jams down the stretch. Seeing how these rookie Dollies respond to adversity will be a big test for how they play down the road in the playoffs, and Raspoutine passed with flying colours on Wednesday night. The Dollies did control lead jam for the bout 25/19, so if they cut down on their jammer penalties this jammer rotation should be fine. 

The league now shifts to bouts for the Queen’s Court (1st and 2nd year skaters) on January 17th, the first bout for the revived B Travel Team the Subzero Sirens on the 23rd and another Charity Mash Up bout on the 29th before the Saucies and Kats start home league play back up on February 3rd. With new attendance records under their belt, and much more parity in the home leagues, QCRG is off to a great start in 2016. You can always find tickets at qcrg.net/tickets

For anyone who wants to re live that final jam.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BAgGtk0Px99/


Queen City Roller Girls to Skate Wednesday Night for the Justice Center

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In a Superheroes vs. Super Villains match up the Queen City Roller Girls will take to the track at Buffalo Riverworks (359 Ganson St.) on Wednesday night to raise funds for the Justice Center. The third expo bout in the lead up to the Official 2016 season, and the first Charity Bout, it is also the first Wednesday game for QCRG since they have moved to Riverworks.

Tickets can be found at qcrg.net/tickets or at the doors which open at 6:30pm.

Team Superheroes will be coached by Lake Effect Furies skaters Low Hits Griffin and Ashes to Ashes and will feature Furies Tuesday Hula, Miss Fire and Midnyt Maniac, B Team skaters Chickadeemolish, June Cleaveher, Molly Malign and Wailing Wench and will also be the first look this year at Ana Killingspree, Bully Holiday, Maggie and Lisa Hardnen.

Team Super Villains will be coached by Anita Dube and Furies skater Blackrock Bruiser and will feature Furies Murphy and Pepper Stix, B Team skaters Celery Stalk-HER, Her Heiny Granger, SlamUWell Jackson and will also be the first look this year at long time Alley Kat Knot Nice. You can see the full rosters of both teams here.

The first two Expo bouts of the season have come down to the final jam, and last Saturday’s “Totally 80’s” Expo bout saw a thrilling last minute come from behind win for Team Garbage Pail Kids in front of a packed house at Riverworks. The league, and fans, are settling into the great new experience at Riverworks.

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Queen City Roller Girls to Throw Back to the 80’s This Saturday at Riverworks

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80’s nostalgia is a real thing. We just lived through the Back to the Future Day, a new Star Wars film is about to be released, and there is talk of a reboot of both the “Goonies” (1985) AND the “Gremlins” (1984). The Queen Roller Girls, with many league members who grew up in the 80’s, are seizing on that nostalgia for a Totally 80’s Expo Bout this Saturday at Buffalo Riverworks (359 Ganson St).

I will be back on the bench coaching Team Scare Bears with my wife and Lake Effect Furies skater Murphy, while on the opposite bench Lake Effect Furies coaches Guy and Andy will be coaching Team Garbage Pail Kids. The Expo bouts, leading into the official 2016 season, are a great time for fans to see new rookie skaters and also have fun in the new Riverworks atmosphere.

Team Scare Bears features four Furies skaters – InSINerator, Rosi, Miss Fire and Rocky, while Team Garbage Pail Kids responds with Furies Pepper Stix, Bricks Hit House, Midnyt Maniac and Dana Scullcrusher. Alongside these travel team skaters the bout will feature rookies like Percipihatin’, Raspoutine, Molly Malign, Sigourney Cleaver, MegLO-MEINia, SkarPinski, SlamUWell Jackson and Chet UpStandUp. There are also some returning skaters that fans have not seen in a while – Vile Love It, Flame Throwher and Rachel Tension (formerly Jaded). You can find full rosters on the event page. You can also find tickets here.

In the lead up to the bout QCRG has been releasing photos of league members from the 80’s and they are amazing. Check their facebook for more.

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The league is also celebrating the release of a billboard with Buffalo Riverworks. The first billboard ever for the league things are already kicking off with a bang to start this 10th anniversary season. Billboard


Lake Effect Furies Announce 2016 Rosters; 4th Annual “We All Brawl” Expo A Success

Credit: CK Photographic Systems (Chris Kalisiak)

Rosi vs. Bricks. 4th Annual “We All Brawl” Expo 2015. Credit: CK Photographic Systems (Chris Kalisiak)

The Queen City Roller Girls 10th anniversary season unofficially kicked off with a bang last Saturday at Buffalo Riverworks with the 4th Annual “We All Brawl” Expo Bout. A mix of rookies, home league skaters and Lake Effect Furies – the bout is always a great coming out party for new skaters and a great experience for skaters who get to test their comfort zones and skate with people they have never played with before. 

I was lucky enough to get to coach Team Black in the Expo bout, but unlucky to be up against longtime league veteran Vajenna Warrior as my counterpart on Team White. After a see saw bout that saw many lead changes Team White pulled away in the last 5 minutes to skate to a 194-161 victory. Fans at Riverworks had lots to cheer about. This bout was the first time fans of the league saw rookie skaters Rosi, MegaLO-MEINia, Chet UpStandUp, Double Baryl, McCreadie, May Bringdowndahouse, Percipahatin and Raspoutine. Rosi led the charge for Team Black – putting up a 35-o jam in the second half to keep the bout close. MegaLO also impressed using a hard hitting and aggressive jamming style up against Team White’s size advantage in the blocking core. For Team White, rookie jammers Double Baryl and McCreadie also had stand out games and looked solid up against league veterans. 

The central focus of the bout quickly became Team White blocker and Furies skater Bricks Hit-House. A rookie transfer last season, Bricks is coming into her own entering her 2nd season with the Furies and is poised for a massive year. Her blocking wore down Team Black jammers and although she ran up 4 penalties in the first half she was able to adjust in the 2nd and play clean. Blocking alongside veterans Lip Service, Wrecks Kitten and Midnyt Maniac the Team White blocking core was too much for Team Black. 

The next Expo bout will take place on Saturday November 28th at Riverworks. You can find tickets and ticket packages at http://www.qcrg.net/tickets/

Following the Expo Bout rosters for the 2016 Lake Effect Furies have been announced. After a year without a B Team the Furies have announced a return to their A/B set up. Their B Team will be anchored by three Furies veterans and alternatives last year – Celery Stalk-HER, Wrecks Kitten and Her Heiny Grainger – while also featuring 5 Queen’s Court skaters from last year. The full roster is – Brutali-Tease, Celery STALK-her, Chet UpStandUp, Chickadeemolish, Double Baryl, HerHeiny Grainger, Jules Burn, June CleaveHer, May Bringdowndahouse, McCreadie, Molly Malign, NicNugget, SlamUWell Jackson, Wailing Wench, Wrecks Kitten.

Coached by Librawlian and Vile Love It the focus for the B Team this year will be increasing internal competition and pushing the A team forward. From Coach Librawlian, “Cultivating a strong B Team is essential to the Furies continued growth and competitiveness within the WFTDA. Having a solid B Team, means that the Furies will become a more internally competitive team as skaters are moved between the B Team and Furies. Thus allowing the Furies to be more competitive externally. We plan to transform every member of the B Team’s game. There’s a lot of potential and excitement within the ranks, and it will be a matter of people rising to the challenges set before them.” 

The A Team returns this year with two new faces – Niagara Roller Girls transfer Dana Scullkrusher and Queen’s Court graduate Rosi. Dana becomes the third Canuck on the team and the third transfer from NRG in the last two years (joining Ashes t’Ashes and Murphy). Longtime veteran B’Kini Whacks is taking the year off, and three alternates have shifted to the B Team, but outside of that the Furies core returns as a whole. Captain Tabrina Schreier is excited to get started on the 2016 season, “The Furies are looking to return with most of our core. We have added a couple new faces who will strengthen us and we’re going to have to fight for every ranking point this year to get back into D1. We had a couple of weeks off to heal physically and mentally prepare. Now we work to tighten up our defense and improve our offense. Personally I can’t wait to see how we do this season because we improve every time we practice, watch game footage or just hang out together.” 

With two solid travel teams, three competitive home leagues, a Queen’s Court that is graduating skaters direct to the Furies and a solid Jr. program fans have lots of to cheer for in this 2016 season. With 30 more bouts to come this season, fans also get to look forward to a finished Riverworks facility with a 27′ scoreboard for games, an open mezzanine, and an overall amazing atmosphere for women’s flat track roller derby. Let’s Roll Buffalo! 


Lake Effect Furies Skate Away From Omaha With 8th Seed

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The Queen City Roller Girls “Lake Effect Furies” came away from their first ever Division 1 Playoff tournament with an 8th seed position after entering at 9. Not only was this their first D1 appearance, but this is also the first time the Furies leave a playoff tournament in a higher seeding position than they entered (6th to 9th in 2013 in D2 and 2nd to 5th in 2014 in D2). Their down-to-the-last-jam win over familiar foe CN Power on Friday was their first ever win against Toronto and it ensured they would come out no lower than 8th. 

The Furies followed that win by facing the best roller derby team on the planet, Gotham, and losing 590-29 (which isn’t as bad as it sounds). That loss pushed them into the consolation bracket where they played No Coast on Saturday and fell 329-186. Missing their #2 jammer InSINerator, because of neck soreness from a fall in that CN Power bout, put the team at a huge disadvantage and they couldn’t recover. The loss placed them in the battle for the 7th seed on Sunday with Helsinki, another team making their first D1 appearance, and the Furies fell 274-199. 

The Furies couldn’t sustain the emotional high of that last jam win over CN Power and the chance of playing Gotham. They took 10 more penalties than No Coast, and although they took fewer penalties than Helsinki they could not capitalize on them. The inability to create offense, without taking penalties, by Furies blockers was exposed against those two teams and spiralling penalty trouble allowed for momentum swings that they could not come back from. 

The experience gained by the Furies should fuel them moving forward. Playing so many games against higher ranked opponents made it obvious what parts of their game they need to work on – depth, discipline, offensive blocking and reforming. Although they had their moments, and Librawlian played out of her mind all weekend, the Furies should feel good but also like they have unfinished business. Yes, they reached their goals this year of making D1 and they moved up in the tournament – but the Furies never successfully played their game for 60 minutes this whole weekend. This team has not hit its ceiling yet. 

How good was Brawl? She scored 417 points this weekend. There are still three bouts left to play, but as of writing that is the most for the tournament and ties Rose City’s Scald Eagle for most in ALL playoff play. The only jammer likely to surpass them is Bonnie Thunders. She juked, apex jumped and spun around anything that was put in front of her. It would be a long shot for a 8th seed skater to win Tournament MVP, but she is definitely someone who is in the discussion. Derby fans from all over the world who were seeing her play for the first time were impressed. 

Brawl aside, the team also rallied behind some great coaching – including Guy who had the best official review percentage of the weekend and played the clock perfectly against CN Power. Veterans Tabrina and Pepper scrapped all weekend and Pepper’s positioning on star passes against No Coast was a thing of beauty. Both of them finished tied for the best differential per jam with Bricks following right behind. Bricks fouled out in those final two games, but also sported the best lead jam % for the weekend of any blocker. The Coaches, leadership, veterans and rookies should all feel proud that they won and lost as a team all year long. This team entered this tournament making their first D1 appearance and as the smallest market present. A team from Buffalo, NY played against Toronto, New York City, Lincoln, Nebraska and Helsinki this weekend in an international sports tournament and held their own. That is awesome and should be celebrated. 


Furies Hammered by Gotham, Up Against Home Squad No Coast Next

Credit: Bill Ingraf (Regularman)

Credit: Bill Ingraf (Regularman)

Moral victories are usually scoffed at by fans. You win or you lose. The canyon that exists between Queen City Roller Girl’s “Lake Effect Furies” and the Gotham Roller Girls Derby is big enough that you can actually justify stuffing some moral victories into it though. Gotham has not lost since 2010. They have won 4 straight WFTDA Championships, they are a dynasty and the best roller derby team in the world. Seeing them play in person is a dream of all derby skaters, playing against them is an exclusive opportunity, and beating them is currently beyond comprehension. This was the backdrop to the Furies 590-29 loss on Friday night in Omaha. It sounds horrible, but let me provide even more perspective. 

In playoff tournament play no one has scored more than 25 points against Gotham in their initial tournament bout since Mad Rollin’ scored 70 against them in 2008. Providence 25 and 14 in 2009 and ’10, Dutchland 0 in 2011, Carolina 8 in ’12, Oklahoma 21 in ’13, Kansas 17 last year. THAT is a huge moral victory. 

There were more moral victories beyond that though; the Furies blockers and jammers had brief moments were they were able to hold Gotham blockers and break their packs, skaters and coaches got a huge dose of experience, Guy was successful with an official review against Gotham, and rookie jammer Murphy got lead and scored points on Bonnie Thunders. How good is Bonnie Thunders? She scored 297 points in this bout alone.

The Furies were not playing for the score board at all, running their rotation straight up and ensuring that their skaters would be rested for their next bout as they moved to the consolation bracket. No one got hurt, the skaters had fun, and they all got the chance to do what only a fraction of skaters worldwide get the chance to do by playing Gotham. 

Up next, the Furies will take on the home tournament team No Coast from Lincoln, Nebraska. No Coast lost 200-192 to 7th seed Helsinki in their initial bout in another tournament game that came down to the last jam. Moving to the consolation bracket, No Coast beat Chicago’s Windy City 300-88 this morning in order to advance to play the Furies. No Coast and the Furies have never played against each other and although the Furies are the higher seed, No Coast is a much more experienced league with a history that stretches back to 2006. No Coast finished 7th last year in their D1 bracket and 10th in their bracket in 2013. Last year they managed to sneak out two very close wins to grab that 7th seed after coming in at 9th – upsetting Oklahoma and Wasatch by 4 and 3 points respectively. They have experience and the home crowd on their side. 

These two teams share a lot of similarities – especially when it comes to the size of their blocking cores and their blocking styles. Beyond that, No Coast has an edge with a more rounded out jammer rotation and they also tend to play cleaner than the Furies do. That said, No Coast will also be playing their second bout of the day, will be going up against a refreshed Furies squad and the Furies have shaken out the nerves from their first game curse. Both teams jammers are going to have to be creative with this big blocking walls as pushing them will be extremely tough. No Coast gambled a lot in their first bout against Helsinki with star passes with mixed results. It will be interesting to see if they return to this strategy when they do not get lead jam status. 

No pressure on Furies jammer InSINerator, but how Sin plays for the rest of the tournament will largely decide how the Furies do. Top jammer Librawlian will be that consistent 1st option that makes the Furies a threat, but how Sin plays usually decides close bouts. Her 2nd half against Toronto was solid, and she managed 2 leads (most) and 12 points (tied with Brawl) against Gotham. If Sin and Brawl are on – they have a very good chance the rest of the way out. If they start to struggle with penalties and blockers panic in the chaos, they will be in tough. 3-4 jammers Low Hits Griffin and rookie Murphy can spell off Brawl and Sin and have had their moments so far in the tournament – but the Furies will depend on those two to take the lions share of jams. The Furies need to capitalize on their endurance, come out with a fast and strong start, and never let up. Play clean, play focused, and play for a full 60 minutes and the Furies will have a shot at moving on to fight for the 5th seed. 

You can watch the game live at wftda.tv at 8pm/EST 




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