SMASHIES & M-80s NET WINS SATURDAY NIGHT!
By Muckety Muck, ARRG Bout Co-Announcer – Photos by Bob Dunnell
(BALLWIN, MO) In the advertising profession, the phrase “XMAS in July” is commonly implemented as a strategy in order to boost sales.
Conversely, the phrase “Fireworks in December” aptly defined the action found at Midwest Sport Hockey Saturday night at the Arch Rival Roller Girls’ second event of the 2013-14 regular season.
After the last wick was lit and the illuminations subsided, the two teams atop the current ARRG league standings retained their respective positions with hard-fought victories.
In the evening’s opener, ARRG defending league champions The Smashinistas powered its way to a 241-152 victory over Rebel Skate Alliance. In the nightcap, the M-80s staved a late-bout surge from the Stunt Devils and posted a 192-181 win.
With the Saturday night triumphs, both the Smashinistas and the M-80s currently sport 2-0 records. The two squads will face each other at ARRG’s next local event on Saturday, January 11 at Queeny Park to see which team grabs the top seed for the league’s 2014 post-season scramble.
Notching the “W” was by no means easy for the victors Saturday as their respective opponents charted vast improvements over their season-opening outputs.
Quite honestly, fans of the top two ARRG squads in the standings had plenty of hand-wringing as the evening progressed. The efforts of the “underdogs on paper” provided plenty of fits for the undefeated teams.
SMASHINISTAS 241 REBEL SKATE ALLIANCE 151
Heading into Saturday night, the opener on paper might have been perceived by many as an easily projected win for the defending league champions. A team that was firing on all cylinders and posted 219 points at November’s local season opener against a squad that struggled to collect 80 at the same event might have been perceived as a potential lopsided affair.
It was anything but due to the hard-charging, and dramatically improved, efforts of Rebel Skate Alliance.
The Smashies remained undefeated in the 90-point victory by implementing the same strategies that have made them successful that past two local seasons.
“We worked really hard on our blocking, staying together, trying to do some soul crushing, staying together and getting on offense as quickly as possible,” said Smashinistas’ jammer Brickyard following the bout.
The mantra implemented early helped the Smashies gain an early lead. Following Brickyard’s bout-opening seven-point strike, The Educator added an 18-2 jam on the next rotation to push the camo-clad lead to 25-2.
RSA countered with a methodical 8-0 run over the next three jams to whittle the margin to 25-10 with 22:10 left in the period.
An RSA jammer miscue in jam six resulted in a 20-point power jam for the Smashinistas’ Shimmy Hoffa that pushed the lead to 45-10. Brickyard followed with a 9-1 jam to extend the lead to 54-11 with 21:00 left in the period.
RSA responded with a 23-0 rally over the next three jams. Rebel rookie Sleazy E’s 15-point power jam was followed by back-to-back four-pointers from Chewblocka and Pink Diamond that whittled the deficit to 54-34 midway through the frame.
The Smashies netted the bout’s next four lead jams, resulting in a 27-5 roll and extending its lead to 81-39 with 11:10 left in the first period.
Leading 89-44 with ten minutes left in the frame, the Smashinistas delivered a 24-point death punch with an Educator power jam that extended the lead to 113-48. Brickyard followed with a nine-pointer to stretch the margin to 122-48.
RSA showed signs of life down the stretch with a 12-0 rally. Jammer Shear-Ra Powers collected eight on the period’s penultimate jam and was followed by Diamond’s four-pointer to make the score 123-60 at intermission.
The second period found both squads trying to gain traction while capitalizing on the other’s miscues. The Smashies possessed a 146-85 lead ten minutes deep.
The Rollin’ Rebs’ blocking schematic, paced by Chewblocka, Party Foul, Prof. Rumbledore, Warpath O’ Jen, Eveready, Science Friction, Orange Ya Sry, Deuce Bomber, Fletch-A-Sketch and newly-acquired A.K.A. Rogue, collectively put the pressure on the Smashie packs, open lanes for its jammers and posted imperative points as the period progressed. A 20-5 RSA run over the next three rotations ensued and whittled the Smashies’ lead to 151-105 with 18:00 left.
The momentum shift was stifled as a fatal RSA jammer track cut in jam nine resulted in a Smashies’ power jam, anchored by Brickyard. The 25-3 bomb extended the lead to 176-108 with 16:05 left.
Meanwhile, the Smashinistas blocking battalion, paced by The Forecloser, Eli Wallop, Party Rock-Her, Cloak N’ Drag-Her, Megalodominator, Girl Fawkes and Downtown Dallis, kept RSA at bay down the stretch.
The Smashies outscored RSA 118-92 in the second period to pick up the 241-152 victory and improve to 2-0.
Yet, the Smashies internally knew that it wasn’t its most cohesive effort Saturday night. There were way too many trips to the penalty box collectively, and the 152 points yielded to the opposition, to consider Saturday night’s win completely perfect.
“Tonight we had a lot of penalties and we can’t have that at all,” said Brickyard, who unofficially finished the bout with 117 points. “Our biggest thing is just staying on the track and out of the box. When we’re out there together, it’s great.”
The Educator added 83 points while Hoffa collected 34.
The squad knows that its showdown with the undefeated M-80s in January is going to be a hard-hitting one.
“They’re definitely going to be the biggest challenge we’ve had so far this season, so we’re very, very excited about it,” said Brickyard.
Meanwhile for Rebel Skate Alliance, the points posted and the hard effort provided Saturday night showed signs of an upswing in the team’s portfolio.
“We had a better pack rotation,” said RSA co-captain Pink Diamond following the bout. ”We now know who we’re going to play jammer-wise and who to play in the pack. We now know who plays well together and we know where we need to adjust. We’ve come a long way since the last bout.”
Indeed they have! RSA battles the Stunt Devils for the post-season’s third seed in January.
“We have already been discussing our bout with the Stunt Devils and we have a completely different strategy for them…but it’s a secret,” the co-captain hinted.
Unofficially, Sleazy E’s 53 points paced the Rollin’ Rebs, followed by Diamond’s 40.
M-80s 192 STUNT DEVILS 181
Much like the opener, the two teams participating in the nightcap were following two completely different trajectories.
In November, the M-80s notched an impressive 145-point victory to kick off the local campaign while a newly-configured Stunt Devils’ roster barely scratched an uncharacteristically low 60-point output in a season opener they wanted to forget.
Fortunately for the Stunts, it was forgotten from the get-go. This is M-80s vs. Stunt Devils, after all. Any long-time ARRG fan knows that all prior statistical mumbo-jumbo gets pushed to the wayside when these two legacy teams tangle.
The M-80s grabbed a double-digit lead early. Following IDA the Living Dead’s bout-opening two-point strike, Molecular Mayhem added an eight-pointer in jam two to push the lead to 10-0.
Stunt Devils’ jammer Mighty Mighty Boston sliced the deficit in half with a five-pointer scored at 26:30 to cut the gap to 10-5.
The M-80s responded with a 30-0 push run in the next two rotations. Mayhem’s grand slam in jam four was followed by IDA’s 25-point power jam to extend the firecrackers’ lead to 40-5 with 24:50 left in the period.
The Stunts countered with a 24-0 rally to narrow the differential. Boston posted a 14-point power jam to narrow the gap to 21 points. Returning Stunt Devil Artemischief, back in the ARRG fold following a year-long migration to the Lone Star State, added ten points thereafter to narrow the M-80s’ lead to 40-29 with 18:00 left in the period.
The M-80s’ Mayhem matched the Stunts’ point push with a 24-point effort midway through the frame. The power jam extended the M-80s’ lead to 64-29 with 15:30 left.
A pair of Stunts’ power jams in the next two rotations collected 27 points. Mayor Francis Slayer and Artemischief posted 14 and 13, respectively, to make the score 72-56 M-80s with 10:00 left in the half.
The Stunt Devils narrowed the bout to a five-point affair as the period continued and smelled blood, 72-67, with 5:30 left.
The M-80s staved off the pressure after Mayhem collected a dozen points with 3:27 left to stretch its lead to 84-67.
A 7-5 jam for Boston helped the Stunts’ cause, which made the score 89-74.
It was at this point that the M-80s unleashed its “not-so-secret weapon” donning the jammer panty: reigning League MVP May Require Stitches. The multi-positional specialist notched a 26-8 jam in the period’s penultimate rotation to widen the M-80s’ advantage to 117-82.
A back block major at the conclusion of the jam, however, sent Stitches to the penalty box. Boston collected four on the period’s final jam for the Stunt Devils to make the score 117-86, M-80s on top, at intermission.
A 31-point lead for the M-80s at halftime was anything but safe, considering the competitiveness of the bout at its midpoint.
“I told them at halftime, I don’t care if we win by one point or 200, a win’s a win and that’s what we’re looking for,” said M-80s’ co-captain Rhino-Might of the situation.
A win by “any means necessary” might have been the call of action for the M-80. It was also the game plan of the Stunt Devils.
At the conclusion of a two-point, second period-opening score by the M-80s’ IDA the Living Dead, the red-clad jammer was sent to the penalty box. The miscue launched a Stunts’ 26-0 roll over the next four jams. Slayer proclaimed a 15-point power jam at 27:15 to narrow the gap to 119-96. Artemischief added three, Boston posted five and Slayer tacked on another three to pull the Stunts to 119-107 with 24:10 left in the bout.
But once again for the Stunts, just as they were surging, penalties thwarted its momentum and the M-80s posted 24 points uncontested. A power jam for IDA collected 15 points, Mayhem added five in jam seven and Stitches put the capper on the 24-0 rally to give the M-80s a 143-107 lead with 18:40 left in the bout.
The Stunts were far from throwing in “the white towel” and gamely responded with a 32-0 run by grabbing the next five lead jams. Propelled by the solid collective work of blockers Grave Danger, Morgan Le Faetal, Vendetta VanGo, Deathica Steele, Chokehold Chanel, Dirt Diggler, Yo-Adrianna and Danisaurus Rex, the Stunts erased the deficit and were only down by four points, 143-139, with 12:05 left in the bout.
More importantly through this six-minute stretch, the purple-clad rollers physically wore down the M-80s jamming tandem of IDA and Mayhem with the soul-crushing hits that this group is capable of.
Feeling the pressure in a four-point bout with time winding down, the M-80s once again rolled out its “ace in the hole” by putting the jammer panty on May Require Stitches down the stretch.
Stitches notched a 29-point jam with 10:00 left to extend the M-80s’ lead to 172-139.
The M-80s’ blocking, propelled by Rhino-Might, The Ginger Assassin, Tupac Shank-Her, Jamheiser Bush, Stray Touhell, Nikki Trixx and a host of others, continued its inevitable 49-15 run of points.
After Stitches collected another 20 points with 4:20 left, the M-80s stretched its lead to 192-154.
Yet, the Stunts were more than happy to provide a case of the “sour belches” for the M-80s’ fan base. A 27-0 run by Stunts down the stretch, punctuated by Artemischief’s 15-point, bout-ending power jam, narrowed the final differential.
When the dust had settled on a topsy-turvy bout, the M-80s had literally “survived” its battle with the Stunts and won, 192-181, which improved its record to 2-0.
“It wasn’t the prettiest game we ever had, but we did what we had to do and hung in there,” said Rhino-Might after the bout. “We had a lot of heart and we didn’t let it slip away. We never lost the lead, but we didn’t keep it as secure as we wanted to.”
Stitches finished the bout topping M-80s’ scoring, notching 83 unofficially, while Mayhem and IDA collected 58 and 53, respectively.
The December bullet dodged by the M-80s will be a reminder as the team prepares for a showdown with the undefeated Smashinistas in January at Midwest Sport Hockey.
“We’re going to work hard for a month and use scrimmages and practices to figure out strengths and weaknesses,” said Rhino. “We’re a really smart team. We never want to play to what they’re going to do. We want to play what we’re going to do. We want to play to our strategy and not the other way around.”
And as much as the M-80s were tentative following Saturday night’s bout, the Stunt Devils, conversely, were sky-high after its much-improve output compared to four weeks ago.
“I felt our team had great improvements,” said Stunt Devil blocker Grave Danger following the bout. “We have almost an entirely new roster this season. All of our players were doing some really good things tonight. Artemischief’s back and we’re hoping to integrate some of the things that she’s learned from one of the top leagues in the nation (Texas.) Yo Adrian-na has been amazing, Danisaurus Rex is awesome, and we’ve got Diggler. It’s been a quick transition for everyone, but they are doing very well.”
All those pieces are collectively coming into place as the team prepares for its next battle in January against Rebel Skate Alliance, a team that also found resurgence in ARRG’s landscape Saturday night.
“We keep hoping that we’ll get a victory,” Danger chuckled. “You don’t go into a game saying, ‘Oh, we’re going to lose.’”
A win will not come easy for the Stunts in the new calendar year, but they are most certainly ready to pick it up.
See exclusive post-bout interviews with skaters from all four local ARRG teams by visiting the league’s official Facebook page LOCATED RIGHT HERE.
Tickets for ARRG’s January 11, 2014 event are on sale right now by going to THE FOLLOWING LINK!
Muckety Muck and Magilla Guerilla are bout-announcers for the Arch Rival Roller Girls. Check back in this section on Mondays for the latest in ARRG news/information.