The Kelowna Raiders rallied from one-goal deficits five times before they were finally able to eliminate the Armstrong Shamrocks from the Thompson Okanagan Senior Lacrosse League playoffs.
The Raiders swept the Rocks after taking Game 2 of the best-of-three opening-round series 13-10 Friday night at Nor-Val Sports Centre. They advance to the league final against the top-seeded Rattlers starting Wednesday in Kamloops.
Game 2 was a chippy, see-saw affair that saw two Shamrocks ejected. Kyle Versteeg was tossed for a five-minute boarding major in the first period. Blake Fredrickson earned a match penalty for spearing in the second.
The lead changed hands five times, and it wasn’t until Kelowna’s Victor Wiens scored his second of three goals at 15:17 of the third that either team enjoyed a two-goal cushion. Wiens scored into an empty net in the final minute.
Kelowna special teams were the big difference Friday, as the Raiders pocketed five powerplay goals on 11 chances and added two shorthanded markers. Armstrong was 2-for-5 on the man advantage and had one shorty.
Shamrocks’ goalie Chad Pieper made 46 saves as Kelowna outshot Armstrong 59-42. Ryan Brabander and Graham Cousins shared the win.
Wiens and Pho Heng (3+2) led the Raider offence. Joe Brown (2+2), Matt Gorges (2G), Jacob Illichman (1+2), Chris Phillips and Jordan Innes also got on the scoresheet.
Steven Clark paced Armstrong with 4+1, while Brennan Plante (2G), Pat Nelson (1+2), Kriss Yargeau, Chad Pounder and Devin Rodger also chipped in on offence.
Pieper, whose mom, Anita Pieper, won the 50-50 ($101), had four assists.
Rodger supplied the goal of the night a minute into the second period when he took an outlet pass from Pieper at the Kelowna bench, ran over Illichman, barrelled through two defenders and beat Brabander over the left shoulder.
Armstrong played without head coach Glen (Stumpy) Mitchell, who was suspended for one game after being tossed from Game 1. Assistant coach Lance MacGregor handled the bench.