19 February 2012

Bout Recap: GMDD Season Opener

Last night, we made a beeline for the Expo Center in Essex Junction to see the season opener for our beloved Green Mountain Derby Dames. As if to foreshadow the tense and exciting nature of the bouts, we caught sight of the state police raiding a farmhouse along the way -- bulletproof vests and shotguns and everything. Anyone who thinks life in Vermont is dull should either hang out with those officers or see more derby!

This double header didn't disappoint. Both bouts were nail-biters, and showcased the skills of both our home league and our two visitors. Flocci's still hoarse from all her cheering, and a little deaf from everyone else's cheering, too. But enough about the damage a fan endures for the sake of her team -- on with the recap!

Bout 1: Black Ice Brawlers vs. Rock Coast Rollers

We didn't find out until the bout was nearly over that this was the Rollers' second bout ever. If this is how they skate after just one bout, we can hardly imagine how amazing they'll be when they have an entire season under their belts! The Brawlers were a little short on home skaters, so they borrowed some excellent talent from the Twin City Riot to fill out the roster, and it worked out well for them.

The first jam got off to a messy start, but the close score set the standard for the rest of the game. The Brawlers have been working on their defensive moves, and were often able to score more points than the Rollers in jams where the Rollers had lead jammer. The Rollers weren't about to let the Brawlers grab an easy win, though. After bringing the score to a tie in jam 5, they took advantage of a power jam and started pulling away, increasing their lead to 20 points within a few jams. The Brawlers fought back, pulling themselves up to another tie in jam 12, but the Rollers rocked a power jam and held a stable lead into the second half.

The second half saw five lead changes and lots of cheering for both teams. Lead jammer status was split evenly between the teams, as were power jams, so it came down to a pure battle of skill with a heavy focus on defensive blocking. With ten minutes to go, the Brawlers used a power jam to go from an 11-point deficit to a 4-point lead. The Rollers tied the score in the next jam, and the Brawlers answered by taking a one-point lead, but the Rollers fought back, holding a 3-point lead with about two minutes left on the clock. Brawlers jammer Snatch McKraken took lead jammer and ran with it, pulling her team ahead by six points. The few remaining seconds on the period clock ticked away, and the game was over. The Brawlers took the win 123-117 over the Rollers.

Name of the Bout: Schrodinger's Catfight #46N2 (RCR)
MVP: Snatch McKraken #369 (BIB)

Bout 2: Grade A Fancy vs. Rhode Island Riveters

The Fancy rank 22nd in the East. The Riveters rank 13th. Flat Track Stats predicted that the Fancy would lose by over 100 points to their well-seasoned competitors. In reality, the Fancy held the lead for all but four jams, and only lost by 13 points in the end. So much for predictive algorithms.

While the Fancy took a slow-and-steady approach to scoring points, rarely grabbing more than ten points in a jam, the Riveters played the hare with a couple of 20-point jams punctuating long stretches of little or no gains. It wasn't until about ten minutes before the end of the game that the Riveters took the lead, and then every other jam saw a lead change until the clock ran out. (In fact, if that trend had held, one more jam could have seen the Fancy bring home a win... but we digress.)

The zebras seemed to have some problems with this game, calling seven official time outs in the second half alone, and there were several issues with time- and score-keeping throughout the game, but even with those drawbacks, this was still an exciting bout to watch. The Fancy played their hearts out, and the Riveters hit their stride at just the right time to win the game 174-161.

Name of the Bout: Flocci - Rhoda Perdition #72 (RIR), Johnny - Hit And Run Pauline #96 (RIR)
MVP: Nancy Nightmare #S810