by Dylan Powell - posted 10:53 pm, January 12, 2016
The Queen City Roller Girls kicked off their official 2016 season at Buffalo Riverworks on Saturday afternoon in front of a sell out crowd – shattering all previous league attendance records with over 1,300 fans. The crowd, which included hundreds of first time fans, were treated to a close bout between the “scrambled” 2016 Devil Dollies and Saucies teams with the Dollies pulling out a 179-113 win.
With two Saucies jammers sidelined with injuries, TeKill’ya Sunrise and Flame Thrower, a jammer battle quickly developed between rookies; Rosi for the Saucies and Double Barryl for the Dollies. Those two rookie jammers faced off at least 7 times in the first half alone. The Dollies walls, anchored by veterans Lip Service, Chickadeemolish and Labatt Bruise, were too much for the Saucies and Double Barryl’s aggressive jammer style kept the Saucies blockers in disarray. Although lead % was close in the first half, the Saucies took more jammer penalties and entered the half down 70-58.
The 2nd half started with that Rosi v Double Barryl match up, but the Devil Dollies pulled away in the 2nd half off the strength of the full jammer rotation – fellow rookie jammers Raspoutine, McCreadie and 2nd year jammer Jules Burn. The Dollies immediately started the half on a 36-4 run stretching their lead out to 44 points. The Saucies managed to end Double Barryl’s lead streak and draw some jammer penalties on the Dollies, but they would only pull that deficit down to 39 before the Dollies finished on another run.
Not knowing what to expect going into this bout with 14 rookies and teams scrambled from last year, fans got a very close and calculated game that saw lots of strategy. The Saucies executed multiple star passes, the Dollies were holding braced walls throughout and both teams focused on short and quick jams to keep the other off the board. This is a testament to the Queen’s Court program and also a good indication of the promise that exists moving forward in the league. Fans might have expected a drop off with so many veteran skaters retiring or moving to travel teams only, instead they got treated to a very skilled and competitive bout that featured lots of up and coming skaters taking direction from solid veterans.
Both teams should leave the bout feeling good about their upcoming season. The Saucies were down two jammers and kept the bout close. That run to start the 2nd half is where they need to focus their attention and if they can bring down the level of panic and penalties they should be fine. Maggie, Sigourney Cleaveher, Peaches, Chet and Crimes all made lemonade out of lemons, and gave their team a shot with a short jammer rotation. Rosi is clearly developing as a force within the league and the feared “red wall” had it’s moments.
The Dollies played a solid team game and have the luxury of alternating Lips Service and Chickadeemolish to punish opposing jammers. They could go even deeper in their jammer rotation if they have to and already they look like the league front runner for top jammer rotation even though it only includes 1 skater with a year under their belt. Double Barryl, who looked solid through the Expo bouts and made the B Team “Subzero Sirens” looks impressive and draws obvious Lo Hits Griffin comparisons with her style. Raspoutine is consistently building off of a great start and proving to be hard to knock down. The Dollies did however let the Saucies go on small runs and stay in the game by giving up some jammer penalties at inopportune times and a fully healthy Saucies roster might have added some more pressure to their calm and collected blocking core.
The Dollies now shift their focus to their bout against the Alley Kats on Wednesday night. The season opener for the Alley Kats, the Kats have the upper hand after watching the Dollies on Saturday. We will see if they will be able to capitalize on that and grab their first win in years.
The bout became a media event in Buffalo and the league has been very busy in the last few days shooting a commercial with Towne Automotive and releasing their 10th anniversary league photo. They have a long bout schedule ahead of them and keeping this momentum up will be the next challenge.
— WGOINBuffalo? (@WGOINBuffalo) January 9, 2016
— Kevin Rybczynski (@buffalony) January 9, 2016