Sunday, January 31, 2010

Black Beats Blue in Twin City Terror Opener

In its opening hometeam bout, the TCTs fielded two teams - Black and Blue.  The final names are being voted on by the teams' fans and will be announced in the concluding bout on March 27th.  The first twenty-five minute half began with Black's Wet Spot scoring an opening salvo for four against Blue's Johnny Pocket Rocket.  The score differential grew to seven until MC Thresher for Blue grabbed nine and the lead for Blue after ten minutes, using JPR's front blocking to shoot past the Black pack, 17-15 Blue.  Black's Timchilla took the lead back on the next jam, scoring a double-slam-plus for fourteen (29-17 Black with twelve to go).  The Black hung onto that lead throughout the remainder of the half.  Their blockers showed just a little more pack presence, watching for the Blue jammers on the turns, and some particularly fine blocking from Deathrow Tull and Bustin Morenose seemed to make the difference.  40-31 at the half.

After a halftime bout played by supporters from the North Stars and the MNRG, the boys in Black and Blue burst back on the track.  Black's jammers - led by Dirty Larry and Bruce Knuckle - took six of the first nine jams of the half taking the score to 74-42 Black with ten minutes remaining.  Blue made several adjustments to their jammer bench - relying on Johnny and the six-foot-six manbeast Killsbury Doughboy - and controlled the clock for the last minutes.  However, each lead jam could only score five or less points against a triumphant Black pack.  As time expired, Black won the Terrors' first home match, 83-60.

The Terrors' next match will be on February 27th at Cheap Skate.  See you there!

Top jammers:

Bruce Knuckle 36 pts (6-10)
Eagon Strangler 13 pts (3-6)
Timchilla 19 pts (2-7)
Bustin Morenose 0 pts (0-1)
Wet Spot 6 pts (2-4)
Dirty Larry 13 pts (4-6)
Deathrow Tull 0 pts (1-1)

Johnny Pocket Rocket 12 pts (5-11)
Blunt Damage 21 pts (4-6)
MC Thresher 16 pts (3-7)
Killsbury Doughboy 4 pts (2-2)
Wernher Van Bombed 7 pts (1-2)
Whiplash 0 pts (1-3)
Husker Stu 0 pts (0-2)

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Garda Belts beat back Dolly assault, 59-50

Last year's bottom-ranked Dagger Dolls took on the Garda Belts, (2009 runners-up), for this first bout of the new home season. There was expectation that this would be a high-scoring game as a bevy of Dolly speedsters took on Suzie Smashbox. It really was anything but that. Although the teams had less than five practices before this bout as the Dolls and as the Gardas, the close scores and the heavy reliance on delaying the jammer instead of knocking her out denoted a bout fought between two strong packs instead of a battle of star-wearing skaters.

After months of playing with one another on the MNRG All-Stars, Dolly #109 (Psycho Novia) skated next to her opponent Suzie Smashbox and took her stance at the jammer line. The jammers threw themselves forward, but Suzie boxed up Psycho's momentum for just a moment...then fled through that pack. Suzie broke through with a minor penalty keeping her from the all-important call of 'lead jammer' and began her lapping run even as Psycho first passed Tiki Torture. The Garda blocker Tiki paced the young Doll through the pack and recycled herself up front as part of a wall with Citizen Pain to engage Psycho again. Psycho finally jinked past Citi and Tiki, took the lead, and called off the jam, but Suzie scored a grand slam. Good start for the women in green, and fellow Garda Belt Rumblebee took the next lead and scored one before rookie AliSin Chains boxed her up. 6-0 Gardas.

After a quick three-point jam by Suzie Smashbox, Psycho Novia found a clear line and screamed through to cheers in the stands for five in the next jam as Gogo Galore contained Anita Spankston. Gogo gave her teammate the interference through the pack that she needed to take the lead. Gardas ahead after five minutes, 9-5.

Suzie repeated her momentum-squeezing trick on Doll rookie Patently Offensive; again, Suzie did not take the lead but depended on her speed to carry her through to the scoring pass. It almost didn't work; Patently got the lead, but only some miscommunication regarding the jam by the refs gained the Gardas a point. Psycho Novia scored her third lead jam in a row, just as jammer Rumblebee fell prey to a back-blocking trap set by Candi Pain. Novia could not advance through to the scoring pass, so called off the jam to pass the power jam to a fresh player. Dolly jammer Sparkle Ninja could not break through the Garda pack as Rumblebee emerged from her penalty, calling the jam as soon as she secured the lead to bring Suzie back to the jammer line.

Hoping to score more for the Gardas, Suzie was instead sent to the box while Scootaloo took another five to tie the game, 10-10 with 8 to go. Suzie was joined by Stacy Wrekt, leaving the Garda Belt defense a bit bare. Unfortunately for Psycho, the core Garda blockers of this match delayed the Doll for twenty seconds...almost enough for Suzie to take the lead as came out of the box. Psycho bust past and called off the jam with Suzie breathing down her neck.

Suzie then poodled herself...

poodle: v. the act of sending a jammer to the track as a blocker and telling her to standing in front of the pivot line, deliberately taking a false-start minor penalty. Performed by jammers to acquire a fourth minor penalty and a visit to the penalty box to clear out their minors before they go to the jammer line. Similar to: lancing a boil.

Suzie then poodled herself as Buffy the Vampire Skater and Rumblebee went to the jammer line. Buffy took the lead for four and called the jam with Suzie still in the box, the Gardas sent up rookie Cassie Rolle against Psycho Novia. Cassie skated like a natural, using Tiki and Citizen Pain's interference-running to score three points. 14-13 Dolls. Sparkle Ninja fairly exploded from the line and took lead while Rumblebee was sent to the penalty box...but it took 'bee a full fifteen seconds to realize what was happening and enter the box, giving Ninja the chance to reengage the pack even before Rumblebee sat down (a penalty does not start until the player is seated). Sparkle took advantage of this for eleven. With 'Bee still in the box, Doll rookie Killaman Jaro grabbed the lead and three more points as time expired for the half, Dolls ahead 28-13.

Three power jams kept the Gardas from scoring for a quarter of the first half, and the Dolls bled every moment of those opportunities to score points. For the Gardas, this was surely disappointing; they were being outled 9-4 by the Dolls, Suzie had only scored five points in the entire half...yet they were only behind by fifteen.

The fortunes of the Garda Belts changed immediately as they returned from halftime. Suzie did not struggle a whit as she bypassed the Dolls and gained speed for the scoring pass, taking a double slam while her opponent banged again and again into a rough Garda line. Sparkle Ninja responded with eight as her Dolly pack handled Anita hard enough to force a visit to the penalty box...but Sparkle Ninja popped Anita out of the box with a penalty of her own - as only one jammer can sit in the box at a time, Anita returned to the track for the end of the jam.

Suzie took advantage of the Garda power jam as Citizen Pain and Tiki Torture shoved open gaps in the Dolly wall. In her zeal to re-enter at the conclusion of her penalty, Sparkle Ninja re-entered the track into the thick of the automatic major penalty. With Ninja in for another minute, Suzie returned immediately to the jammer line and scored ten despite bouncing off the rock-strong Doll rookie Killaman Jaro. Tiki - so dominant in this match as a troubleshooter - shoved Jaro aside and let Suzie through. Sparkle returned to the track but did not score. Anita added to the lead with a grand slam on the Dolls, and the Gardas retook the lead, 49-36. Her opponent - Patently Offensive - was sent to the penalty box.

This would be the third penalty in four jams for the Dolls, tearing apart any ability the Dolls had to hold back the Gardas; a derby team is always at a strong disadvantage when their jammer is in the box.  The Gardas charged ahead 24-0 amidst those four jams. Patently Offensive tore from the box in the following jam against Suzie Smashbox, holding the all-star Garda to one point while scoring one herself. With 7:30 to go, the Dolls had fallen behind by thirteen.

Suzie poodled again while Sparkle Ninja and Anita Spankston flew from the jammer line. With the help of Shiver Me Kimbers, Ninja blasted past adversity and brought her team back to within four...but the jam had gone long enough that Suzie had completed her trip to the penalty box. With a clean slate for minors, Suzie jammed against Scootaloo. Scootaloo, held up by Tiki Torture and Citizen Pain, could not crack the pack while Suzie scored nine unanswered points. With time for two more jams, Psycho Novia returned fire on the Gardas with four unaswered points to give the Dolls a shot at the win. However, the final Dolly jammer - Buffy the Vampire Skater - could not bypass the phenomenal Tiki Torture in time to beat Suzie for the lead. As time expired, Suzie called off the jam and gave the Garda Belts their first win, 59-50.

The Gardas came back to score 46 points in the second half to the Dolls' 22...just enough to make the difference. Neither team had a strong advantage on the other, and both teams fell prey to power jams throughout the match. However, while the Garda pack kept a lid on the Dagger Doll jammers during those minutes of unopposed jamming, the Doll pack was unable to stop Suzie Smashbox's power jams...particularly when she had blocker assistance from Citizen Pain, Tiki Torture, Hanna Belle Lector, and Punish Mint Patty. Suzie appears to rely on her teammates for much more than a belt whip these days, and it seems that the Garda defense is going to continue to be very difficult to defeat. Rockits, Bombshells...take note.

91 Suzie Smashbox 7-11, 50 pts
18 Anita Spankston 1-3, 5 pts
350 Cassie Rolle 0-1, 3 pts
4x4 Rumblebee 2-8, 1 pt

1111 Sparkle Ninja 3-7, 28 pts
109 Psycho Novia 6-7, 9 pts
FU Scootaloo 1-3, 5 pts
20 Buffy the Vampire Skater 1-2, 4 pts
9 Killaman Jaro 0-1, 3 pts
281 Patently Offensive 1-3, 1 pt

Set to maximum yield, Bombshells break Rockit streak, 78-76

For many fans of the Minnesota RollerGirls, the Rockits have always been the winners. They just win; they're the serious, hard-working, take-care-of-your-body kind of players that can tell you the ins and outs of the game as they outdrink you. If you started attending bouts in Season 4, you've never known anything different. On Saturday, the Rockits lost. More importantly, the Atomic Bombshells - under the leadership of Mitzi Massacre and Misfit Maiden - played a smart game and beat the back-to-back champions of the Minnesota RollerGirls in a match that brought the fans roaring to their feet.

Venus Thightrap - lately the prime pivot for the All-Stars - returned to her jammer roots for the Atomic Bombshells against Harmony Killerbruise for the first jam. As the jammers made their way through on the initial pass, Venus' blockers opened the way for their scorer, then knocked the Rockit's franchise jammer to her back foot long enough for Venus to take the lead. Venus did not quite time the call of the jam, so Harmony grabbed a point to the Bombshell's two. Similarly, Bombshell L'exi Cuter took the next lead, but Abbie used the L'exi-shaped hole in the pack to get through herself and stole two points. Mae Gusta shot through the inside with ease for the Bombshells while Venus momentarily held back Harmony's jam...but the Rockit still got a point.

After a fast three-point jam from L'exi, Mae Gusta jammed against Harmony Killerbruise, again took the lead, and again allowed the Rockits to score. The Bombshells had so far taken every lead, scoring 17...but the Rockits kept stealing points. First bout jitters for the Bombshells, perhaps...but L'exi Cuter sprinted it off with an unanswerable grand slam-plus as she sped out of the pack through a hole made by Mitzi Massacre. Shaken, the Rockits called a timeout. 26-8 with eleven minutes left.

The Rockit defense became startlingly high-risk; three of their players went to the box in the next jam while Mae Gusta scored four. This led to an easy grand slam for L'exi Cuter against the Rockits' Vuedoo Prodigy as L'exi sped past a depleted Rockit pack. Harmony finally grabbed a lead jam and four for the Reds as her opponent was waylaid by Rockit blocker Pain Gretzky, but it was their first lead after eight in a row for the Bombshells. L'exi returned fire with a grand slam despite being tracked through the pack by Vuedoo Prodigy; Vue hit or stopped L'exi so many times, she may have kept the young Bombshell from scoring a double slam. A back block penalty from opposing jammer Trixxie Whipsum (forced by Tara Skatesov) allowed Mae Gusta to go to the line unopposed in the next jam, scoring another slam.

Scarmen Hellectra grabbed the second Rockit lead jam of the night with two minutes left in the half, scoring an unanswered five against opponent Tara. Scarmen also called off the jam just as L'exi was sent to the box as a blocker...trapping her so that she could not return to the line during the half. The ploy did not appear to do much; both Venus and Abbie Mischief each scored four in the final jam of the first half. Bombshells 49-23 at the half.

Five-for-five lead jamming from L'Exi-Cuter and several unanswered grand slams should have unsettled the Rockits. However, the Bombshell jammers weren't closing off their jams their opponents an opportunity to score on them amidst the chaos of the pack. On the other hand, the Bombshell defense shocked the staff and fans by holding the Rockits to under thirty in the half.

The fire of the Bombshells almost flamed out at the beginning of the second half. Harmony Killerbruise took the first lead jam over Misfit Maiden, and while Harmony accelerated, the refs sent Misfit to the box as she tried to break through the back of the pack. The Bombshells seemed to panic as Harmony kept lapping and started trying to divebomb or strongarm the jammer...sending the defense to the box as well. Harmony posted a quadruple slam - 20 points - as the track emptied of Bombshells. Abbie Mischief took up the remainder of Misfit's power jam and - despite rapid-fire blocking from Tara Skatesov and Jocelyn D Jewels - scored another fifteen as the Bombshells continued to be shelled by the Rockit pack. Misfit re-entered but was sent back out to the box...However, the refs called Abbie on penalties just as time expired on the jam. With five minutes gone in the second half, the Rockits retook the lead 58-49.

Abbie's penalty at the end of the jam kept Misfit in the box until the start of the next one when Abbie officially began her penalty (as only one jammer can be in the box at a time). This meant Misfit couldn't swap out for a fresh jammer and had to start from the box, not the jammer line. Misfit pinballed her way through the pack and lapped, staying free of fouls while Abbie returned to the track and promptly got sent out again. Misfit endured a very rocky two minutes as Killahertz, Trinity Knox, and Meshugenough all laid into her, trying to force a foul. No such luck; Misfit hit the bench after seven minutes with the jammer star, scoring five. L'exi took Misfit's place and scored nine against a defiant Rockit defense...a jam that sent many Rockits to the box. Abbie returned from penalties as well for four, but L'exi regained the lead for the Bombshells, 63-62 with ten minutes left to play.

The Rockits and Bombshells seesawed over the next two jams. Harmony stole the lead on a fast four as her teammate Scarmen Hellectra held up opposing jammer Mae Gusta, and L'exi came right back for a Bombshell four. The Rockits simply could not contain L'exi Cuter; two jams later, L'exi led again and outscored Abbie 2-1.

Despite the occasional point stealing from the Rockits, L'exi's strong showing meant that the Bombshells continued to control the clock...and it was starting to run low. With only five minutes remaining, the coaches sent Scarmen back to the jammer line against Mae Gusta...and Scarmen came up big. Although she did not get the lead, Scarmen sped ahead of the pack and scored nine to Mae's three. The Bombshells called a timeout with three to go. Rockits took the lead, 76-72.

With the two teams separated by four, the Bombshells put up L'exi and the Rockits sent forward the hard-hitting Honeydew Felon. L'exi, seemingly tireless (and frankly immortal at this point), sped ahead of her booty-blocking opponent, took the lead, and scored three. One point game, and the Bombshells sent forward Venus Thightrap against Harmony Killerbruise for the final jam. The Rockits called a timeout, and the Bombshells took the opportunity to replace Venus with the red-hot L'exi. L'exi would not be stopped; despite hits from Vuedoo Prodigy and Scarmen Hellectra (sending both Rockits to the box), L'exi scored her tenth lead jam of the forty-minute game and skated as if her team depended on her while Harmony was held back by Tara, Misfit, and Diamond Rough. L'exi accelerated and scored three before calling off the jam with less than two seconds remaining...and with the Rockits out of timeouts, the Bombshells collapsed on the track as their fans screamed their win to the rafters. Final score: 78-76.

Amazing match. The first part of the second half showed exactly how good the Rockits could be at playing the game, stranding Misfit in the midst of a hard-hitting Rockit pack...but Misfit hung through long enough for the Bombshells to recover and knock around Abbie the same way. It's clear that this summer has been very good to the Bombshells as so many rookies trained at the level of the All-Stars. We can hope that next month's matches are so close, so intense, so chock-full of awesome. Congratulations to the Atomic Bombshells for their victory!

187 L'exi-Cuter 10-10, 43 pts
456 Mae Gusta 3-5, 16 pts
55 Venus Thightrap 3-4, 14 pts
313 Misfit Maiden 0-3, 5 pts
47 Shady O'Dread 0-1, 0 pts
21 Tara Skatesov 0-1, 0 pts

75 Harmony Killerbruise 4-8, 34 pts
318 Abbie Mischief 1-7, 26 pts
28 Scarmen Hellectra 1-2, 14 pts
6 Trixxie Whipsum 0-3, 0 pts
LXIX Vuedoo Prodigy 0-2, 0 pts
333 Coochie Coup 0-1, 2 pts
25 to Life Honeydew Felon 0-1, 0 pts