Jan 14, 2015 | Bout News

Slam Jam Thank You Ma’am: The Preview

By Fire Wally

So here we are at the midpoint of Minnesota RollerGirls Season 11. We've seen a nail-biting mini tournament and two regular season bouts. Now's a perfect time to take stock of the teams before they move into the home stretch of the Golden Skate playoffs, so let's review the bouts so far and see where our home teams currently stand.

Home Season Standings

    Team                 Win-Loss      Score Differential
    -----------------    --------      ------------------
    Atomic Bombshells    2-0           +66
    Rockits              1-1           +30
    Garda Belts          1-1           -12
    Dagger Dolls         0-2           -83

At this point in the season, a team's two goals are simple: (1) If possible, take the top seed to get the easiest matchup in the playoffs and (2) if that fails, at least stay out of last place so you don't have to play the strongest team. The Bombshells are obviously in the most advantageous position going into bout 3 - they'll take the first seed with a win or a narrow loss to the Rockits. The Rockits, on the flip side, can take first place by beating the Bombshells by 19 points or more. For the Garda Belts to win first, they'll need both a blowout win over the Dolls and for the Rockits to narrowly beat the Bombshells. The Dolls best hope is to stay out of last place by beating the Garda Belts by 36 points or more.

Now that we know a little more about what the teams are shooting for, let's break down Saturday's matchups individually.

Dagger Dolls vs. Garda Belts

Jammer Matchup: Second Hand Smoke vs. The World. The Gardas get a lot of points from the nimble and powerful jamming of Second Hand Smoke, while the Dagger Dolls tend to spread out jamming duties around the whole roster (they put in 12 different jammers in the last bout, for instance). That should mean the Dollies' jammers are less tired by the end of the game, but they'll have to be careful not to allow huge points when Smoke is at the wheel for the Gardas.

Blocking Matchup: Who can stay on the track? Both of these teams have gotten into momentary penalty trouble during the first two bouts of the season, giving their opposing jammers precious minutes to score easy points. Minimizing overall penalty minutes will be important, but even more important will be skating clean when one blocker is already serving a penalty - nothing kills a team's momentum like starting a jam with a 4-2 pack disadvantage.

Atomic Bombshells vs. Rockits

Jammer Matchup: Fannie/Freeze/Roley vs. Harmony/Sheen/Volt: With the mid-season retirement of Bombshells' jammer Crowella De Vil, I expect both the Rockits and the Bombshells to keep close to a 3-jammer rotation. For the Rockits, that'll mean their regular crew of Harmony Killerbruise, Obscene Sheen, and Rhea Volt, while the Bombshells will likely rely more on Fannie Tanner, Freeze Baby, and Roley Ann Lena. All six of these skaters have the skills necessary to be a scoring threat, but individual jammer vs. wall matchups are volatile. If someone is having a hot night, watch for that team to use her more in the second half to try and gain an advantage.

Blocker Matchup: Vertical vs. Horizontal. The Bombshells' favorite formation is the four-wall: all four blockers standing hip-to-hip, horizontal across the track, leaving the opposing jammer little room to maneuver. The Rockits, on the other hand, tend to use speed to their advantage, stretching the pack vertically and using constant recycling to make the opposing jammer pass each skater multiple times. Watch each team try to force the other to skate at their preferred pace and break up their opponent's rhythm.

This season has already given fans some close bouts with powerful hits and blinding speed, and Slam Jam Thank You Ma'am looks to be no different. If you haven't got your tickets already, better pick some up soon.