Penalties stung the RTRG in their first game of the West Kootenay Roller Derby season five months ago and came back to haunt them in the league final Sunday.
The Rossland-Trail club fell behind early and could not bridge the gap in the battle for bronze against the Dam City Rollers from Castlegar.
The new club dropped a 243-159 decision to the Rollers, a team it had split the season series with at one game apiece.
RTRG were behind 119-68 at the half, having been down over 70 points at one stage of the game, 110-38.
Despite a strong early push from RTRG, the second half was dominated by the Rollers with steady, consistent scoring as RTRG kept up a steady stream of penalties.
“It was a huge issue for us,” said RTRG’s McFly about penalties. “I took six myself and almost got kicked out. They had a lot of power jams as a result.”
The RTRG were missing a lot of their key jammers. Three of the club’s four top scorers and veterans were missing due to injury or unable to make the match.
Combined with sloppy play it proved fatal for the Roller Girls from Greater Rossland.
“If we stayed out of the penalty box it would have made a difference,” she said.
Penalties can make or break a game, said RTRG coach Railroad. There’s always a lot of penalties called in any roller derby game, he said, but it’s just better when the opposition gets more called on them than you do.
“So it really comes down to who can maintain their composure for two, 30-minute halves,” he said after the game. “But when your jammer goes to the box that’s what kills you. That’s when a game changes.”
The jammer is the one player on the track out of five who scores points by lapping members of the opposing team.
The RTRG were a new entry in the five-team league. Now in its third season, the league was compressed down from seven teams, and amalgamated two-time league champions (and undefeated in two seasons) Rossland’s Gnarlies Angels, with cellar dwellers Bad News Betties from Trail into the Roller Girls.
The club was a mix of veteran players and “fresh meat” on its 26-player roster, but the Nelson Killjoys—fused out of two Nelson teams—contained seven league all star players.
The other clubs in the league—that sports over 100 players—include the Dam City Rollers, Babes of Brutality and the Valley Vendettas.
In the gold medal match up, the Nelson Killjoys triumphed over all others this season by beating the Salmo Babes of Brutality 244-130, winning the coveted Golden Boot during the Mountain Mayhem finals.