Drew Hassard (left) of the Armstrong Shamrocks is knocked off his feet by Mike Quarin (centre) and Brett Hanna

Drew Hassard (left) of the Armstrong Shamrocks is knocked off his feet by Mike Quarin (centre) and Brett Hanna

Shamrock duo shoots down Cats

Brett Hawrys and Owen Barker supply offence as Armstrong Shamrocks clip Vernon Re/Max Tigers 12-9 in Junior B lacrosse playoff opener.

Brett Hawrys and Owen Barker have been deadly for the Armstrong Shamrocks all season.

The Thompson Okanagan Junior Lacrosse League snipers continued that trend in Game 1 of the post-season, combining for 11 points in a 12-9 win over the host Vernon Re/Max Tigers Wednesday night at Wesbild Centre.

Barker, who finished third in regular-season scoring with 50 points in 11 games, collected four goals and two assists, while Hawrys, the scoring leader with 84 points in 13 games, scored once in each period and supplied two helpers.

The best-of-five semifinal series shifts to Nor-Val Sports Centre for Game 2 Saturday night (7:30). Game 3 is slated for Tuesday at Wesbild, and if necessary, Games 4 and 5 would be Thursday at Nor-Val and Saturday, July 14 at Wesbild respectively.

If the Cats want to rebound in this series, head coach Myles Brumpton knows those two will have to be contained.

“We were not as cohesive as a defence unit as we have been all year by allowing two players basically dictate the outcome of the game,” he said.

“The boys know they need to focus on Barker and Hawrys. If we take them off their game, the Rocks’ offensive depth drops off after that.

“The silver lining in the loss is that it is a five-game series and it will turn it into a war of attrition.”

Rounding out the Armstrong attack were Drew Hassard, with 2+1, Joel Castle, with 1+2, and Kyle Versteeg and Daniel Petersen each adding singles.

Armstrong was backstopped by a stellar goaltending performance from Trent Gabriel, particularly in the second period when the Baby Rocks got into some penalty trouble.

“We played a great team game tonight; everybody contributed in some way,” said Armstrong head coach Pat Nelson.

“We got ourselves into some penalty trouble in the second and opened the door for them, but we focused ourselves and fought our way back. Vernon is a very strong team and we are going to have to bring that same work ethic with us on Saturday night at home.”

Ryan Landels led Vernon’s offence with a hat trick and two assists. Mike Quarin (2+1), Jordan Orr (2), Craig Bigsby and Midget call-up Liam Drabiuk also got in on the scoring.

Brett Hanna and Nolan Frame each chipped in with two helpers, while Austin Lewarne, Matt Kolb and Sam Oliver each had one.

The Tigers were the least penalized team in the regular season, but earned a minor in the opening minute and had trouble staying out of the box after that.

“Right out of the gate we had no flow to our game,” said Brumpton. “Although the penalty minutes were even (25 minutes apiece) for both teams, we did not capitalize on our opportunities whereas the Rocks did by scoring six powerplay goals to our one.

“I thought our guys were gripping their sticks a little too tight all night and uncharacteristically dropped balls, threw bad passes and hit 10 posts over the course of the game.”

In the other Junior B semifinal, the powerhouse Kamloops Venom doubled the South Okanagan Flames of Penticton 14-7 Tuesday night at Kamloops Memorial Arena.

Game 2 goes tonight at Kelowna Memorial.