The Armstrong Shamrocks went to bed thinking that their nail-biting loss to the Kelowna Raiders cost them the Thompson Okanagan Senior Lacrosse League season title. When they woke the next day, a league ruling awarded them the Rowcliffe Cup and home court in the playoffs.
The Shamrocks lost 10-9 to the Raiders in the regular season finale Friday night at the Nor-Val Sports Centre.
The Shamrocks finished tied for first with the Raiders at 7-3, but sat in second because of their head-to-head record.
On Saturday morning, the Shamrocks filed a protest about the Raiders playing with an illegal player.
The TOSLL commissioner Elinor Hinds ruled in favour of stripping the Raiders of their last four victories for dressing an illegal player.
Evan Helgeson did not hold a valid B.C. Lacrosse Association certified card. Hinds’ review ruled that the player was uncarded and not eligible to play in the last four regular-season games that he appeared in, all victories. The Raiders were also fined $200 and Helgeson is suspended from the playoffs and provincials.
The Shamrocks improved to 9-1, claimed the No. 1 seed in the best-of-three Shaw Cup playoffs and home floor. Game 1 goes Wednesday. The Raiders are tied with the Kamloops Rattlers at 3-7.
The Rattlers (1-9) officially backed out of the playoffs because they don’t have enough players.
Before the legal system took over, the Raiders opened the scoring on a goal by Brendan Urban, but Carston Schlaak split the Raiders’ defence and tied the game.
Jarret Medhurst sniped a low shot for the Shamrocks. Ryan Phillips and Helgeson scored for the Raiders on the powerplay to regain the lead. Shamrock defensive specialist Bayne Bosquet scored on a breakaway to tie it 3-3 after 20.
“Our intensity was great, our offense and defense played fantastic but we had a lot of trouble scoring on the powerplay and against Kelowna we have to capitalize on our chances” said Shamrocks’ coach Ryan Nitchie.
The Shamrocks rallied in the middle of the second period rattling off three unanswered goals by Medhurst, Schlaak and Braidy Webb. Shamrock call-up Tyson Fair scored his first senior lacrosse goal, sniping a shot to make it 7-4.
Penalty trouble late in the second period allowed the Raiders to climb back into the game. They scored seven of their 10 goals on the man advantage.
Urban scored each period to pull the hat trick for the Raiders. Helgeson sniped another goal in the third, while Joe Brown, Pho Heng, Jordan Urban, Ryan Phillips and Victor Weins added singles.
Craig Bigsby and Webb each sniped one goal in the third period for the Rocks.
Andrew Schwab registered a pair of helpers for the Shamrocks and won the league scoring title with 22 goals and 41 points in nine games. Medhurst finished second with 27 goals and 38 points in 10 games.
The Shamrocks finished with the most goals for (125) and least goals against (85).
The Shaw Cup is expected to begin Wednesday, July 22 at Nor-Val Sports Centre. Game 2 goes Friday, July 24 at Memorial Arena in Kelowna. If necessary, Game 3 would be played Saturday, July 25 in Armstrong.
The Shamrocks are hosting the Senior C Provincial Invitational Tournament, Aug. 7-9, at the Nor-Val Sports Centre.