Armstrong Shamrocks defender Jamie MacGregor (right) keeps a close watch on Kelowna Raiders ball carrier Victor Weins during Thompson Okanagan Senior Lacrosse League season-opening action Friday at the Nor-Val Sports Centre. The Raiders built up an early lead and held on to beat the Irish 11-7. (Katherine Peters - Morning Star)

Armstrong, Vernon suffer season-opening lacrosse defeats

Kelowna builds early lead, beat ‘Rocks 11-7; Tigers can’t hold four-goal edge, lose 10-6 in Kamloops

Armstrong Shamrocks and Vernon Tigers will meet in the Tigers’ Thompson Okanagan Senior Lacrosse League’s home opener Friday, May 3, 8 p.m., at Kal Tire Place with each team looking for a first win.

The ‘Rocks and Tigers lost their season-opening games Friday, Armstrong dropping an 11-7 decision at the Nor-Val Sports Centre to the reborn Kelowna Raiders (took a leave of absence in 2018), while the Tigers – playing their first game since 2012 – let a four-goal first-period slip away in a 10-6 loss to the Rattlers in Kamloops.

Steve Clark and Jamie McGregor each scored twice for Armstrong, who fell behind 7-1 in the first period but started to come to form in the second half, allowing four goals, scoring six and not allowing any goals in the third period.

Steve McIlwrath had a goal and four assists for the Shamrocks while other goals were scored by Logan Strohm and Marlon Forrest. Goalies Connor Senn and Chad Pieper combined to make 65 saves on the evening.

READ ALSO: Armstrong Shamrocks bolster lineup

Andrew Gallant (four assists), Nick Evans and Cory Seigner each had two goals for Kelowna.

The Shamrocks were without league MVP Brett Hawrys as he finished university but will rejoin the team next week when the ‘Rocks travel to Vernon. Armstrong also played without other key offensive players Joel Castle and Kyle Versteeg and defensive specialists Jamie Cockerill and Milan Marcetta.

“Kelowna has some talented offensive players and played much more disciplined than the previous rendition of the team which bodes well for league and will make for an exciting regular season as the TOSLL enjoys a resurgence with a four-team league,” said the Shamrocks’ Ryan Nitchie.

READ ALSO: Vernon senior lacrosse team revived

In Kamloops, the Tigers – who last played in the league six years ago – jumped out to a 5-1 first-period lead on two goals from Craig Bigsby and singles from Brennan Plante, Ryan Sarazin and Mackenzie Moore before the Rattlers found their form and outscored Vernon 9-1 over the final 40 minutes.

Sarazin added a second goal in the third-period. Josh Point made 25 saves in goal for the Tigers.

Former Shamrock AJ Lockwood led Kamloops with three goals and three assists.

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