Medhurst fires up Rocks

Jarret Medhurst scored four times as the Armstrong Shamrocks bottled up the host Kamloops Rattlers 14-8 Friday night.

Jarret Medhurst scored four times as the Armstrong Shamrocks bottled up the host Kamloops Rattlers 14-8 in Thompson Okanagan Senior Lacrosse League play Friday night.

Rookie sensation Andrew Schwab potted the hat trick for the 4-1 Shamrocks, who got deuces from Jamie Cockerill and Carston Schlaak. Schwab leads the loop with a dozen goals and 23 points.

Steve Clark supplied 1+2, while Kas Boudreau and Bayne Bosquet also scored. Kyle Versteeg recorded three assists, while goalie Chad Pieper and Craig Bigsby each netted two helpers.

It was 4-2 after one period for the 1-4 Rattlers, who got three goals from AJ Lockwood and 2+1 from Gavin McIntosh.

The Shamrocks made some second-period adjustments defensively and employed a fast break, high-tempo offence in hopes of exploiting the humid conditions inside Memorial Arena and utilizing the Shamrocks’ young skilled legs.

The strategy paid off with Medhurst ripping two goals and defensive specialist Cockerill scored his first of two on the night rushing from the defensive end to hunt down an elusive fast break pass from Pieper to score over Rattler goalie Mike Smith’s shoulder.

A mid-period scrap between Shamrock heavyweight Braidy Webb and the Rattlers’ Kevin Ross seemed to spark the Shamrock bench with Webb winning a clear decision.

Despite pushing the play all period, the Shamrocks couldn’t solve Smith enough and it was 7-6 Kamloops after 40 minutes. The Irish busted things wide open when Schwab potted his second on a hard outside shot which levelled the score.

Medhurst, who leads the league with 17 snipes, ripped two more goals while Schwab completed the hatty. Cockerill scored on a coast to coast play while speedy Boudreau netted an insurance marker.

Schlaak snagged his second of the game with a beautiful five-hole goal and Bosquet rushed the length of the floor from the defensive position to register an over the shoulder goal.

“We were doing a lot of things right offensively in the first two periods but were literally being snake bitten by the Rattlers’ goalie” said Shamrocks’ coach Ryan Nitchie.

“Defensively, we were letting their forwards penetrate our zone defence with cutters around the net getting in behind so we talked about adjustments needed and the defence certainly responded and tightened up nicely.  Pieper played very well, especially in the third when we needed him.”

Pieper was particularly pleased with the road win

“The guys didn’t panic when we were down, we stayed positive and confident that if we continued to play our style we would eventually start having success and we did,” said Pieper.

“We really wore them down tonight into the third when our defence started to tighten up and make their cutters pay coming through the middle and our offence controlled the ball and balanced the floor time between the O and D really well which allowed us to stay fresh to make the push we did.”

The Shamrocks have the bye week before entertaining the Rattlers Friday, June 12. The Shamrocks will be celebrating Vernon Tigers and Armstrong Shamrocks alumni night Saturday, June 13 with dozens of former Tigers and Shamrocks reuniting for a special intermission ceremony.