Quad City Chaos Preview #1: Lake Effect Furies v Tri City Thunder

The Lake Effect Furies will be crossing the border and making the trek up the QEW this weekend to take part in the 7th annual Quad City Chaos tournament hosted by Toronto Roller Derby (TORD) and their travel team CN Power. Their 2nd time participating in the tournament, the Furies will be hoping for a better result than their 0-3 record at their apperance in 2013. 

This year the tournament features two familiar foes for the Furies – CN Power and the Tri City Thunder from Kitchener-Waterloo, On. They have played these teams in sanctioned games a combined 8 times, 4 each, and carry just a 2-6 record in those bouts. Many of those bouts have been very close though, the average point differential with Tri City is just 14 and the Furies are coming off of their 3 point last jam win over CN Power last October at Division 1 Playoffs. These teams are also closely ranked in the Women's Flat Track Derby Association (WFTDA), with Toronto the highest currently at 42, Queen City at 47th and Tri-City at 51st. Only 16.9 average WFTDA scoring points separates Toronto and Tri City and all of these teams will be fighting this year to get back into the top 40 and under the Division 1 Playoff cut off. 

The Furies play their first bout on Saturday against Tri City at 12pm and follow that up with a bout 7pm against the host CN Power. Today's preview is for that first bout, Wednesday there will be a CN Power specific preview. For fans looking to make the trek up to support you can find out more information and ticket info here

Tri City Thunder 

Coming off of three straight years of Playoff Appearances (D2 in 2013, D1 in 2014 and 2015) Tri City has a solid history within WFTDA. This year will be a test for this club though as they have 7 retired skaters and 8 new skaters on their travel teams. Roster continuity was an issue in 2015 as well, but new transfer jammers Crazy Squirrel and Honey Badger largely made up for that difference and the team managed to hold onto their 10th sead in D1 Playoffs. This year Honey Badger has gone back to Montreal and the cuts to the blocking core are deeper. Only 3 skaters remain from their 2013 D2 Playoff team – Annex, Aggrosaurus and Rain Blows Brite (Lippy Wrongstocking is currently listed as a Coach). Tri will be looking to transfers like former Hammer City skaters Co-Captian Smashing Good Time and Janegerous to shore up that blocking core and have an interesting assortment of new skaters – including Jr program graduate Mallice Cullen. 

From their website it looks as though Tri City will rely on a 4 skater jammer rotation of Crazy Squirrel, Kristy Skelton, Annex and up and coming jammer Pity Afoo. Crazy Squirrel was a great 2nd option last year in a rotation that lacked depth, and Tri City will struggle even more this year to bridge across that rotation. Annex is a great relief jammer, but relying too heavily on her moves her out of the blocking core where she is arguably more useful as a pivot. Tri City's solid B team program ensures that drop off isn't too extreme and has prepared new skaters like Pity Afoo, but trying to find balance in this jammer rotation will be the main focus for the Tri City coaches this year. 

Tri City also had a late start to the season compared to the Furies and are yet to bout having only a few scrimmages under their belt with this current roster. With a strength factor of 2.43, this makes this a bout that the Furies need to target in their 2016 schedule to really make up WFTDA points. The Furies notoriously struggle in the first bout of tournaments, but if they needed any extra motivation they just have to think back to the 12 point Tri City upset win over them last May.

Tri Ciy Thunder Celebrate Upset Win 2015. Photos by Joe Mac