The Armstrong Shamrocks need a rebound effort to avoid elimination as they host the Kelowna Raiders in Game 2 of their best-of-three Shaw Cup semifinal series tonight (7:30) at Nor-Val Sports Centre.
The Rocks fell 8-5 in the Thompson Okanagan Senior Lacrosse League playoff opener Wednesday at Memorial Arena in Kelowna.
The Raiders opened the scoring when Matt Gorges snuck in behind the Shamrock defence. The Shamrocks then got into penalty trouble, which resulted in powerplay goals by Pho Heng (2), Darcy Leach and Jordan Innes.
Armstrong got on the board on a great shorthanded solo effort by Kas Boudreau to make it 5-1 at the break.
The second period saw the Shamrocks chip away at the lead with nice overhand shots by Kriss Yargeau and Kyle Versteeg, while their defence held the Raiders scoreless.
Further penalty problems for Armstrong in the third frame gave Kelowna a pair of 5-on-3 powerplays. Kelowna’s Chris Phillips and Braden Renner capitalized. The Shamrocks tried to play the comeback game with Pat Nelson and Chad Pounder adding singles, but Gorges’ second of the night put the game out of reach.
The teams combined for 110 penalty minutes, with Grahame Cousins earning the win for the Raiders. Chad Pieper took the loss.
The Shamrocks are hoping for a boisterous crowd tonight in Armstrong.
“We really rely on our home crowd to pump us up for the playoffs,” said head coach Glenn (Stumpy) Mitchell, who was ejected in the third period of Game 1. “We need everyone out to make a lot of noise.”
Meanwhile, the Vernon Source For Sports Tigers will have home-floor advantage as they host the Kamloops Venom in the best-of-five TOJLL championship series (dates to be determined). The upstart Venom eliminated the top-seeded Kelowna Raiders after their 6-5 win in Game 4 of the TOJLL semifinals Wednesday in Kamloops.