The defending league champion Armstrong Shamrocks used a relentless offensive attack and dominated the time of possession, smothering the Kamloops Rattlers 12-6 in the Irish’s Thompson Okanagan Senior Lacrosse League season opener Saturday at the Nor-Val Sports Centre.
Brett Hawrys scored five goals and set up three others for the Shamrocks, who wore down a shorthanded Rattlers squad throughout the evening.
Owen Barker scored four times – two on powerplay lasers from the outside – and Jarret Medhurst added a pair. But the goal of the game for Armstrong came from last season’s MVP, Carston Schlaak, with his team shorthanded in the final minute of the second period.
Schlaak swatted a loose ball high out of the air. The ball ventured down the floor towards the Armstrong bench. Schlaak used his gazelle-like speed to beat a Rattlers defender, grabbed the loose ball mid-air as it bounded off the boards, and cruised in on goalie Stu Ford on a breakaway.
Looking like a modern-day Jim Maundrell, Schlaak used a dangle and dunk with 2.7 seconds left to give Armstrong a 10-5 lead.
“We really dominated at both ends of the floor and pushed the ball in transition throughout the game,” said Shamrocks coach and GM Ryan Nitchie. “We worked the rust out in the first period as it takes some getting used to game speed against a real opponent, but once we found our rhythm we showed a glimpse of our potential.”
Kody O’Brien picked up the win in goal for the Shamrocks, who are in Kelowna tonight and host the Raiders Saturday at 7:30 p.m. at the Nor-Val Sports Centre. The Raiders lost their season opener, 11-5, to Kamloops.
The Armstrong Shamrocks overcame a 7-3 first-period deficit to earn a 12-12 tie with the South Okanagan Flames in Penticton Monday, stretching their Thompson Okanagan Junior Lacrosse League unbeaten streak to three games.
Sam Hanley had 3+2 for Armstrong, Marlon Forrest added 1+4 and Nich Yadernuk and Austin Daunais each scored twice as the Irish took a 9-8 lead into the final period.
Single goals went to James Francis and Dakota Campen. Francois Leroux made 37 saves for the Shamrocks, who were coming off a huge 11-9 win at home over the Vernon Tigers Friday at the Nor-Val Sports Centre.
It was a costly loss for the visitors who will be without leading scorer Jordy Barr for an indefinite period.
Barr suffered a broken leg during Friday’s contest.
Hanley and Tyler Chartier each had 2+2 to lead Armstrong, who held period leads of 4-2 and 7-5. Ethan Dodge and Yadernuk scored twice, Forrest added 1+2 and singles went to Seth Gordey and Mason McLennan.
Jake Pelletier led the Tigers with 1+3. Kyle Cuzzetto scored twice while singles went to Chris Inscho, Eric Reid, Brett Olsen, Connor Webb and Sean Howard.
The Tigers visit Kelowna Thursday while Armstrong entertains the Kamloops Venom Friday at 7:30 p.m. at Nor-Val.