The Armstrong Junior Shamrocks earned upstart status last weekend, going 3-0 at the Senior ‘Rocks Ice Breaker Lacrosse Tournament at Nor-Val Sports Centre.
The baby ‘Rocks ended with a 14-5 drubbing of the Prince George Stylers/Vancouver Burrards mixed squad Saturday night.
Paced by a five-goal performance from Brett Hawrys and a hat trick for Owen Barker, the Shamrocks used stifling defence and constant pressure to force countless turnovers, which transitioned into a potent fast break.
Milan Marcetta sniped a few outside shots while rookie Todd Hogarth potted a single on a nice cut from the corner.
“All in all it was a really good weekend for our young team,” said Shamrocks’ head coach Pat Nelson. “We really started to roll our bench on offence, defence and transition and by the third game the boys were starting to utilize some of the systems we’ve been coaching over the past month.”
The Junior Rocks will host the Thompson Okanagan Junior Lacrosse League Ice Breaker Tourney this weekend at the Nor-Val.
The Senior Shamrocks went 2-1 in Ice Breaker action.
After an opening loss, the Senior ‘Rocks rebounded with an 8-7 win over the Stylers/Burrards in a back-and-forth thriller Saturday morning.
With only 40 seconds remaining and down by a goal, the Rocks called their timeout. They pulled the goalie for an extra attacker, and Steve Clark scored his hat trick goal to tie the game with 15 seconds on the clock.
With the tournament rules, the game went to a NHL-style shootout where both goalies were stellar. It wasn’t until the 12th round where captain-coach Chad Pounder scored for Armstrong. Netminder Owen Siddall then stoned Senior C legend Dave Steward-Candy to secure the win.
“The weekend went very well to try out some new systems and to get everyone on the same page. We had a few issues and system breakdowns versus the juniors, but we were able to rebound well in our final two games of the weekend,” said Pounder.
In Saturday night’s feature game, the Shamrocks grounded the Maple Ridge Attack 7-3.
The Attack got on the board first, but weekend import Brett Doig of Prince George scored the first of his four goals to tie the game on Armstrong’s next possession.
Tied 3-3 heading into the second period, the Shamrock defence then took over, holding the Attack to long outside shots.
With the ‘Rocks leading 5-3 going into the third period, Doig and Clark added singles in support of netminder Chad Pieper.
The Senior Shamrocks start Okanagan X-treme Lacrosse League play Friday night against the host Kelowna Raiders at Memorial Arena. Their home opener goes Wednesday, April 20 against the Vernon Sr. Tigers at Nor-Val.
“We had a lot of success last year against the Raiders and it has developed into great rivalry on the floor,” said Pieper.
The Sr. Tigers went 1-2 in Ice Breaker action, starting with a 7-5 win over the Stylers/Burrards squad.
The Tigers then fell 10-9 in a shootout to a Senior B team from Spruce Grove, and simply ran out of gas in an 11-5 loss to the Kelowna Raiders.
“We played the whole tournament with basically 12 runners,” said Tigers’ assistant coach Steve Latimer. “We were just grabbing people as we went.”
The Tigers were led offensively on the weekend by Shane Sargent, Kirk Krause, Robbie Short and the Plante brothers, Tyler and junior call-up Brennan.