Steve Clark recorded five goals, including the winner in the final minute, as the Armstrong Shamrocks opened the Okanagan X-treme Lacrosse League season with a 12-11 nail-biter win over the host Kelowna Raiders Friday night at Memorial Arena.
The Raiders’ Joe Brown opened the scoring on the powerplay, but the Shamrock offence exploded for seven goals later in the frame. Thomas Belenger, with the first of three goals, and Clark got Armstrong rolling.
Logan Strohm (2+5) chipped in with a pair of first-period goals as the Shamrocks punished the Raiders’ undisciplined play with the man advantage.
The Shamrocks, bolstered by three junior call-ups, saw Brad (Dump Truck) Wolgram score his first senior lacrosse goal to give Armstrong an 8-3 lead.
The Raiders put a clamp on their undisciplined play, and began working the ball around very well, which resulted in some great goals. With just 12 runners, Armstrong began taking penalties and Kelowna got back in the game, trailing 10-8 after two periods.
Kelowna’s Steve Plasko (3+2) pulled his team within a goal with a powerplay marker in the third, only to have Clark respond with his fourth goal.
The Raiders tied the game 11-11 with 10 minutes to play, and both teams pressed very hard for go-ahead goal. However, with 1:20 remaining, the Raiders took a pair of minor penalties and had to play 5-on-3 for the rest of the game.
The Rocks turned the ball over with 40 seconds remaining, but netminder Chad Pieper held his ground on the ensuing breakaway.
After calling their final timeout, the Rocks moved the ball around, finding Clark on the top who ripped it by Erik Wray.
Captain and player-coach Chad Pounder was thrilled with the win.
“We came down here very shot-benched against a determined Kelowna squad and we found a way to win. Big credit goes to the juniors who came up to play. (Jordan) Norstrom, (Cullen) Rowan and Dumptruck played like veterans out there and gave it their all,” he said.
The Shamrocks host the Vernon Tigers Wednesday night (7:30 p.m.) at Nor-Val Sports Centre in Armstrong.