Backwoods Bruisers drop opening game to State College Area Rollers Plan B

Brusier jammer Lizzy Von Lethal skates away from the pack as #0109 Jersey TurnSpike and #416 Kel-tic inFORCEher clear a path. (Photo submitted)
Staff Writer

STATE COLLEGE — The Backwoods Bruisers of Northern Allegheny Roller Derby (NARD) opened the 2018 roller derby season on March 25 by traveling to Penn Skates Rink in State College to take on Plan B of State College Area Rollers (SCAR). Plan B is the “B team” of the SCAR, with a mix of more-experienced and newer rostered skaters. The road trip did not work out for the Bruisers, who dropped the opening match of the year to Plan B, 272-70.

The Bruisers were led in scoring by Lizzy Von Lethal (36 points), and Friday tallied 26 points. Ginja Ninja of Plan B led all scorers with 85 points.

The match opened up as a low-scoring affair. The Bruisers took a 2-1 lead after two jams, and Plan B retook the lead 6-1 at the conclusion of Jam 3. Plan B’s jammer scored nine points to increase the lead to 15-2. Bruisers jammers #28 Lizzy Von Lethal and #14 Friday would respond and score 14 and 13 points, respectively.

Bruiser Captain Lizzy noted, “First half, we went in with the mindset of strong walls, and we held our own and worked smoothly together.”

Their effort would give the lead to the Bruisers 29-18 over Plan B, and the Bruisers would hold on to the lead until Jam 9. In that jam, Plan B jammer Beccaww #8 would score 14 for Plan B’s first double-digit jam of the night, making it 39-29 points about 12 minutes into the game.

For the remaining 18 minutes of the first half, Plan B would increase the lead. The Plan B jammers would make a scoring pass, earn points, then call off the jam.

In the 11 jams that took place in the last 18 minutes, Plan B earned lead jammer status 10 times. #99 Blackout Betty, the head coach for SCAR, noted, “In regulation game play, the goal is usually just to win; our goal is to not let the other team score any points if we have lead jammer.”

The Bruisers went to halftime with a deficit of 123-29 to try and overcome in the second half, which opened with the Bruiser’s Lizzy Von Lethal scoring 11 points. It would be the last double-digit scoring jam of the game for the Bruisers.

In the same jam, Plan B’s Ginja Ninja #105 garnered 23 points, growing the Plan B lead to 149-40. Two jams later, #1640 would match the effort of Ginja Ninja and score 23 points as well adding 23 points four jams later. In the first seven jams of the second half,
Plan B had a scoring run of 87-24 over the Bruisers to set the Plan B lead at 210-54.

In the later stages of the second half, the Bruisers had less scoreless jams than the first half. Lizzy Von Lethal commented that “we started to play a fast game to keep up with Plan B, and we lost our game and played theirs.”

Plan B again resorted to earning lead jammer in the eight of the 13 final jams of the half and ending the jam prior to the Bruisers’ jammer scoring. The Bruisers also used eight different jammers during the game for people to get experience and earn as many points as possible.

Lizzy talked about the mix of experience on the Bruisers and the jammers in the first game of the year, saying “We had a good number mix of freshies (roller derby rookie skaters) with vets, and we all needed the jitters worked out. We have a lot of players stepping up into the jammer position, and it’s just a matter of us fine-tuning our lines.

Plan B ended up rolling to a 272-70 victory over the Backwoods Bruisers.

The Bruisers were led in scoring by Lizzy Von Lethal’s 36 points. Friday tallied 26 for the Bruisers, and #5150 scored five.

Plan B averaged 6.8 points per jam scored for the game, while the Bruisers had 1.79 points per jam average as a team.

The teams named most valuable skaters at the end of the game. The Most Valuable Blocker was given to Bruisers’ #79 Hipps of Fury. The Most Valuable Jammer was #14 Friday. Plan B’s Most valuable blocker was #22 Taylor So Swifty, and Most Valuable Jammer was given to Ginja Ninja.

The Backwoods Bruisers will be back in action at the Skate Station in Clearfield on April 28. The Blitzburgh Bombers of Steel City Roller Derby will travel up from Pittsburgh. First whistle is at 4:30 p.m.