The host Armstrong Shamrocks got off to a slow start and it cost them in their final Thompson Okanagan Senior Lacrosse regular-season meeting with the Kelowna Raiders.
Trailing 5-1 after the first period, the Shamrocks went on to lose 12-9 Friday night at Nor-Val Sports Centre.
The first-place Raiders (9-2), struck early on the powerplay with Pho Heng exploding for five of his six goals in the first period. Most of Kelowna’s damage was done with the extra man as the 6-5 Rocks accumulated 20 minutes in penalties in the first period (68 total to Kelowna’s 38).
Brett Heitman buried the first of his two goals to get the Shamrocks on the board before the first intermission.
Armstrong finally got its offence on track in the second period, with Kriss Yargeau firing a ball past netminder Graham Cousins. Steve Clark added another for the hosts before Kelowna’s Victor Wiens took over the offence with the first of three second-period strikes. Chris Phillips added to the lead with a sneaky behind-the-back shot.
Junior call-up Owen Barker and Darren Kirby scored for Armstrong to make it 9-5 heading into the third period.
The Rocks come out quick, getting goals by Heitman and Clark to close the gap to two goals, however Kelowna countered with singles by Scott Renner and Wiens.
Armstrong attempted a comeback with another tally by Kirby, followed by a nice outside shot from Barker. However, Heng and Wiens, with an empty-netter, finished the scoring.
Cousins recorded 32 saves for the win, while Chad Pieper had 41 stops and an assist for Armstrong.
Armstrong ends the regular season Thursday night against the Kamloops Rattlers, 8 p.m., at Enderby Arena.
“Some of our best fans are from the Enderby area; we are very excited to bring this game to them,” said Pieper. “We did a game there five or six years ago and we packed the building and it was a great atmosphere.”
The Enderby tilt will give the Marcetta boys, Milan and Nathan Marcetta (the latter is a potential call-up), a chance to play in front of a home crowd. Shaun Koenig, also of Enderby, will be suspended for this game after he earned a match penalty for an altercation Friday night.
“These (Marcetta) boys hold nothing back; they can play a hard-nosed style, they are great on the defensive end and they contribute on the offensive end,” added Pieper.
The Shamrocks will face the 6-5 Kamloops Rattlers in the opening playoff round, and a win Thursday will give them home-floor advantage in the best-of-three Shaw Cup semifinal.
Tickets for Enderby are $6 for adults, $5 for students, $4 for seniors and $20 for family pass.
In other TOSLL action Friday night, the Vernon Tigers bowed 13-4 to the host Rattlers at Memorial Arena.
In a game that featured little intensity (only two minors were called, and one was for a chin strap violation), the 1-10 Cats surrendered five unanswered first-period goals and never recovered. Russ McIntosh, with a pair, Mark Jurista, JJ Woldum and AJ Lockwood supplied the Kamloops attack.
Vernon captain Kirk Krause got the Tigers on the board in the second period, but the Rattlers continued to pull away on goals by Jurista (2) and Lockwood. Cam Dunsmore collected a pair and Robbie Short completed Vernon’s offence in the third period.
The Tigers end the regular season against Kelowna Thursday night (7:30) at Wesbild Centre.
Meanwhile, the Armstrong Baby Shamrocks leapfrogged the host Kelowna Raiders for third place in the Junior B lacrosse loop with a fight-filled 15-14 win Thursday night at Memorial Arena.