Mar 26, 2019 | Bout News

Skate Like UCare: the Preview

THIS. IS. IT.

Each practice, each haul of the skate bag, each trek to and from the Legendary Roy Wilkins Auditorium has led to this Saturday. The Golden Skate is up for grabs…and the team that will win it has not raised the Skate in at least five years.

Before the Skate: we have a 3rd place bout to play. The Dagger Dolls are ready to go, taking on the Atomic Bombshells - last year's champions - for the illustrious Bronze Bearing.

Before we break down the matches, here's what you need to know before the bout begins:

  • Get to the bout early. First 200 through the door get an t-shirt on us. Doors open at 6.
  • Pre-Show. MNRG's Junior program - The Frostbite - will hitting the Roy track before their older siblings skate for glory. Yes, junior derby players are adorable…But they'll also drop you on the floor without thinking much about it.
  • Halftime The Bad Man will bring you down to the main floor for Halftime. The Bad Man wants you to dance. Dance with The Bad Man - named a Best New Band in 2017 by First Ave.
  • After Party. Post-Golden Skate parties are the best. Head on down 7th to Tom Reid's Hockey City Pub after the bout. You won't be sorry.
  • Finally. go get your tickets early. Save a couple of bucks and visit these Fine Local Outlets.

And here we go.

3rd-place bout: Atomic Bombshells (2-2) vs Dagger Dolls (0-4)

The Atomic Bombshells are rebounding from last month's loss to the Garda Belts. Although it was a hard upset and the end of their three-year reign, the ABS must rise for the occasion and be ready for the Dagger Dolls this Saturday. The Dolls want this win; they've been honing themselves against the Rockits for the past two months and are ready to take on a new rival.

The Dolls have settled on Shock Therapy, itchesbetrippin, and rookie sensation Little Rascal as primary jammers (with occasional assistance from Thimbleberry Slam and Kung POW Bitchin'). They'll have work to do as they handle the veteran Bombshell pack. Whether it's creating space between them and Diamond Rough, missing late hits from Madame de Stompadour, or getting ground down by Hannah Shot First, Speed Rita, and C-Pain - Doll jammers will have a lot to think about how to navigate that pack.

The Dolls must nail scoring passes multiple times this bout each time they get the lead. This bout is going to be a numbers game, with Rat (Homo Erratic), Peppers, and the returning Lazy Susan all available for play. The Dolls have not yet fielded an effective blocking rotation. With Shock likely playing as a jammer, the Dolls will need to lean on Thimbleberry Slam, Lola Frequency and POW as their track leaders to keep the team together and all over the ABS' scorers.

What's more, Rat is no longer hiding in anyone's shadow with an 85-point showing against the Garda Belts in February. That's more than two scoring passes per jam. The Dolls will have no choice but to wall up this risen star as well as the rest of the ABS jamming staff.

Come for the 3rd-place bout, but stay for...

The Golden Skate: The Rockits (4-0) vs the Garda Belts (2-2)

You can describe the intensity of this bout with nothing more than a few stats.

  • The Rockits have won every game this season by more than 100 points.
  • The Rockits thoroughly defeated the Gardas in December, scoring 200 points alone in the second half.
  • Ever since that December bout, Garda Belt jammer Switch Please has been on a roll. Switch dropped 107 points on the Bombshells in February and 96 in January. The Gardas haven't fielded a jammer this effective since Garda legend Slambda Phage scored 127 points in a single bout in Season 10.

But here's the stat that matters. The Gardas have not seen gold since Season 10, and they've only gotten that one championship. The Rockits were the TERRORS of the league in its first years, but they haven't held the Golden Skate since Season 7. There's a lot on the line, both for the teams and for their fans.

Keys to a Rockit win:

  • Stay smart, stay clean, stay together: The Rockit pack has been playing their 'pod' game all season, training sets of players in rotation in game and out. It's paid off with this team of veterans, allowing them to build trust with their pods and help each other stop jammers and stay away from the penalty box. Don't change what works.
  • Red #3: So there's been one consistent, scary reality for the Rockits this year. They've haven't played Jacked Pipes very much...and the finals are the moment they could step that up. Every time the other team thinks they've got a little streak going, Red #3 steps to the line, puts on her star, and - at the whistle - doesn't stop. She scores multiple passes; she divebombs the pack when on a power jam, then calls it off when her coach tells her to do so. Then she goes back to the bench and waits for her next moment. If you start seeing Pipes used on the regular in the finals, well, hold onto your butts.
  • CAN you just slam the door on the Gardas? The Rockit jammers - Moose, Pipes, Jojo, Bri, and anne T (scoring threats, all) - need to cut off Delilah and Switch's huge gains by...well, I know this SEEMS simple - getting out of the pack first and getting lead whenever #101 Green lines up for the jam. Get the lead, get some points, call the jam. 'nuf said.

Keys to a Garda victory:

  • Every jam a new jam: the Garda Belts played a tight rotation of veteran skaters in the semis. We saw two effects as a result: the experienced pack kept the game just out of reach of the ABS, but at the expense of fatigue penalties that sent those same vets to the box too many times. For the Gardas to go the distance against the Rockits, they're going to need everyone warmed up, out of their bench face, and playing hard all game long.
  • Delilah Diamond ain't a warmup act: Good as Switch is, no team can get by on a single jammer. And the Gardas don't need to. Delilah Diamond's has had an outstanding season, and her play may mean the difference between silver and gold. Delilah scored seven leads and only lost one to a penalty. She's averaging more than one pass every jam she's in. She's for real, and the Rockits need a solution for her. And - as has been said repeatedly in this space - overlook Ida Sockher at your peril.
  • Clean jams all night long: Here's a secret to defeating the Rockits. Their huge wins are in large part due to cleaning up through power jams. When the opposing jammer is in the box, THAT is the time that the Rockits will end you with a 20-point comeback or go ahead. The Garda jammers must play cleanly to stay ahead.

See you there, sports fans.

-Garrison Fjord