Monday we covered the bout preview for the Furies first bout at this weekend's 7th annual Quad City Chaos tournament against the Tri City Thunder. That bout, like the one later on in the day, will pit familiar foes against each other as these teams have long histories. The roster turnover for the Thunder will make things interesting in that bout, but the roster turnover for the Toronto All Stars means most of their team will be unrecognizable to the Furies who just played them last October.
Changing their name from CN Power to Toronto Roller Derby All Stars, Toronto Roller Derby (TORD) has consolidated their A and B teams into one large roster. Like Tri City, Toronto is experiencing the second straight year of mass retirements and transfers, and like Tri City they still managed to keep it together last year and make Division 1 Playoffs. This year will be an even bigger test though.
Of the 14 skaters that competed on the track against the Furies last October at Playoffs, only 5 remain on the current TORD All Stars charter (Beaver Mansbridge, Lexi Con, Mad Megz, Mia Culprit and Monster Muffin). From the 2014 CN Power Roster, only Mia Culprit and Betty Bomber (returning after a year off) remain on the current charter with Santa Muerte currently listed on their B roster. For comparison, TORD will see every single Furies skater from October except for 1 – B'kini Whacks – and their current roster has at least 12 skaters who were rostered in 2014. This kind of roster turnover is rare and the Furies will need to take advantage of their continuity edge early on.
Roster turnover and a late season start will hamper a team, but the Toronto All-Stars still have lots of reasons to be hopeful this year and in this bout. Mad Megz is still on the roster and she put up 107 points against the Furies this past October. The league also has one of the most solid B team programs and they've shown themselves that they can make things work in this chaos – surprising and beating Boston, Steel City and Rideau at Quad City Chaos to start last year and almost beating the Skids (Montreal) to follow that up. They have announced two travel team rosters since November, adding and subtracting skaters as they go, which certainly impacts training and practice time. However, with their new consolidated travel team set up the negatives will be lessened. The team will also be bolstered by new transfer skaters this year; Commander Will Wrecker (Tri City), Boxcar (All Over), and eventually Booty Quake (Terminal City) who is out currently with an ACL injury.
The TORD All Stars roster contains a ton of talent, but it will be interesting to see how their coaches balance it. Of their 20 skater charter, 10 skaters are jammers or have worn the star in home league play this year for TORD. I would expect a jammer rotation of Mad Megz, Beaver Mansbridge and Lexi Con, but after that it could be any number of skaters to round out the rotation. Played right, the TORD coaches can use the unfamiliarity of their roster to their advantage and the Furies should expect a few wrenches thrown in here and there.
The game plan for both bouts for the Furies needs to be similar, they need to dominate to open the bouts and control the pace. They need to induce panic between skaters who don't have the same amount of track time or bout experience as they have and they need to not give these teams hope. Both Tri City and Toronto will position themselves as underdogs this weekend even though Toronto is currently ranked higher and Tri City has the better all time record against the Furies. If the Furies give them that window of hope both of these teams can be dangerous and they will use that underdog narrative and mentality to try and pull off upsets this weekend. Tournament play has not always been kind to the Furies and any combination of over confidence and penalty trouble could see them struggle. Coming off a solid win over Roc City the Furies can't look past this weekend or lose focus. Their D1 playoff chances rest on having good showings at their two tournaments this year (Quad City Chaos and Beaver Fever) and this weekend is the best opportunity to make up ground.
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. Fans looking to make the trek up to support you can find out more information and ticket info here.