Friday, September 16, 2011

Eastern Regional Playoffs -- A preview

Today marks Day 1 of Nightmare on 95, the Eastern Regional Playoffs, to determine the first three seeds of the WFTDA Championship tournament.

The Eastern Region has seen international play before with the inclusion of Montreal Roller Derby’s New Skids on the Block last year, but the 2011 tournament includes a second non-continental U.S. team: London Rollergirls.

London’s had a tough inaugural WFTDA season thus far, falling 0-4 on the year, with three of those losses coming from fellow Eastern Region sister leagues. Ranked last in the tournament with the No. 10 seed, London, which is ranked 22 in Derby News Network’s power rankings for September 2011, certainly has its work cut out for it when it matches up with Carolina, DNN 23. The winner of this matchup would face Philly Roller Girls, who took second in the tournament last year, in the second round matchup on Friday.

The other international flavor, Montreal, has had a who’s who of opponents this season with a grand total of 19 bouts, including three bouts at Anarchy in the U.K. and two bouts at East Coast Derby Extravaganza. Against other Eastern Region Playoff contenders, Montreal is 3-3, with losses against Gotham, Charm and Steel City.

Gotham and Philly are the best teams, No. 1 and No. 2 respectively, in the Eastern Region. These two teams are almost assured to meet in the final game of the regional playoffs, even though a disappointing 267-34 loss at ECDX set the City of Sisterly Shove back a little bit. Falling out of the Top 10 in DNN’s power rankings, Philly has a lot of ground to make up after a faltering season. Holding on to their No. 2 WFTDA ranking in the Eastern Region will be tantamount to their birth in the Championship tournament.

Gotham Girls Roller Derby has absolutely dominated their Eastern Regional opponents during their 7-0 2011 season. Outscoring Eastern Regional opponents by 682 points in five games, Gotham’s defense has held its opponents to a pale 218 points – and that’s including giving up 102 points against Charm City in their May 21st game in Baltimore.

Gotham shook off rumors of a possible move by Suzy Hotrod to Philly, their veteran jammer staying with her home team. The New York team also managed to pick up two transfers, cementing their stranglehold on the No. 1 spot in the East. One standout from the South Central tournament last year, Wild Cherri, who played for Tampa Bay in 2010, moved to the Gotham team. The team also managed to acquire Davey Blockit from the Arch Rival Roller Girls. Add those players to a stable including Hyper Lynx, Hotrod, Bonnie Thunders, OMG WTF and a slew of other skaters, and Gotham has a recipe to making it through the Eastern Regional Playoffs and straight into a Top 5 placing in the Championship tournament.