The battle of the bitter rivals in the Thompson Okanagan Senior Lacrosse League was close Thursday, June 2.
Close for the first one minute and 50 seconds.
After the Armstrong Shamrocks and hometown Vernon Tigers exchanged goals in the game’s first 110 seconds, it was all Irish.
Armstrong scored the next eight goals and rolled to a 17-4 romp over Vernon in the Tigers’ final regular-season home game at Kal Tire Place.
The Shamrocks led 5-1 and 9-3 after the periods, chasing Vernon starting goalie Stu Ford – the former Kamloops Rattlers netminder making his Tigers debut – after the ninth goal at 11:03 of the middle frame in favour of backup Darnell Hauca.
Any thoughts of a Tigers miraculous comeback in the final period were quashed by the Shamrocks, who scored four times in a 3:02 span before the period was eight minutes old.
Armstrong had five powerplay goals on the night and also scored three times shorthanded.
The Irish offence was led by Logan Strohm (4+1), Jake Pelletier (3+2) and Josh Dumont (2+3), each with five-point games. Steve Clark and Joel Castle contributed 2+2, Kyle Versteeg had a goal and two helpers, as did Brett Olsen.
Cam Nelson and Jamie Cockerill rounded out the Shamrocks’ scoring to support winning netminder Graham Turnbull. The play-by-play voice of the Vernon Vipers stopped 21 Tigers’ shots.
Gord Walls-Good was in on all four Vernon goals, scoring twice, and setting up the other two by Craigh Bigsby and Aaron Green, on a powerplay.
Ford and Hauca combined to make 49 saves for the Tigers, who play their final three regular-season games on the road in Kelowna, Armstrong and Princeton. Vernon is 1-4 on the year, two points up on the fifth-place Rangers and two back of third-place Armstrong.
The Shamrocks (2-3) are slated to host Princeton Saturday at 6:30 p.m. at the Nor-Val Sports Centre in a game originally scheduled for May 28.
The top four teams make the playoffs with first playing fourth and second hosting third in one-game semifinals. The two winners will meet in a best-of-three championship series.
Vernon and Armstrong meet again June 17 at Nor-Val.