Whenever they face each other in 2022, there’s no quit in either the Vernon Iron Ghost Construction Tigers or the Armstrong Shamrocks.
Then again, neither team has developed that knockout blow needed to put the other away.
For the third time in as many Thompson Okanagan Junior Lacrosse League meetings this year, the two bitter rivals played to a draw.
Jorge Hall’s goal driving to the net and beating Vernon goalie Derek Pereboom with a low shot at 18:29 of the third period gave Armstrong a 9-9 tie with the Tigers Saturday, May 28, at Kal Tire Place in Vernon.
It was the second consecutive game in Vernon in which the Shamrocks rallied in the third period. Armstrong was down 9-6 with less than 10 minutes to play.
The comeback started in a weird way as Tigers’ defender Nate Williamson inadvertently put the ball into his own net, swiping at a bouncing loose ball and knocking it past Pereboom at 10:27. The goal was credited to Armstrong captain Ethin Campbell.
Hall scored a powerplay marker at 12:19 to cut Vernon’s lead to one. He then played a key role in the final minute. Hall’s shot attempt was blocked and stolen by Tigers’ captain Jacob Brewer, who raced to the other end while being hounded by Hall. Brewer got a shot away but it was stopped by Shamrocks goalie Ryley Lockhurst.
The turning point in the contest for Vernon came at the 11:53 mark of the second period.
Trailing 4-3, Armstrong’s Nathan Davis-Lent took two, five-minute slashing penalties on the same play and was given a game misconduct. With Vernon’s Caden Colmorgen drawing a two-minute roughing minor for going after Davis-Lent, the Tigers had to wait to go on an extended eight-minute powerplay in which they scored four times to take a 7-5 lead into the third period.
Armstrong’s Colton Irmen scored a critical shorthanded breakaway marker while killing the eight-minute Vernon man advantage.
The Shamrocks led 3-1 after 20 minutes, which included a highlight-reel shorthanded, unassisted goal from Colton Macaulay, who picked up a loose ball at the Vernon bench, fought off a Tigers’ defender, turned his back to Pereboom at the top of the crease and fired a one-handed shot between his legs that found the back of the net.
The Irish also got a powerplay goal from Joseph Jankowski with one second remaining in the frame.
Hall and Campbell each had three goals on the night to lead Armstrong. Jankowski collected four assists. Lockhurst finished with 30 saves.
Brewer led the Tigers attack with two goals and two assists. Carston Disher scored two goals on wicked shots to the top corner from outside, while Bradley Scabar, Matt Lathom, Kael Black and Colmorgen had the other Vernon goals. Pereboom made 31 stops.
The teams meet for a final time this season Thursday, June 23, at the Nor-Val Sports Centre in Armstrong.
Both teams entered Saturday’s contest coming off home-floor losses to the expansion, league-leading Kelowna Kodiaks (7-2).
Vernon fell 12-7 Wednesday, May 25, while the Shamrocks dropped a 9-3 decision Friday, May 27.
The Tigers (2-3-3) are winless in their last five games while Armstrong (0-5-3) continues to search for that elusive first win.
Vernon hosts the South Okanagan Flames Saturday, June 4, at 7 p.m. at Kal Tire Place, while the Shamrocks visit the Kamloops Venom that same night. Armstrong’s next home game is Saturday, June 11, against Kamloops.