The patchwork Armstrong Shamrocks went 1-3 in the B.C. Senior C Invitational Lacrosse Championships last weekend at Bill Copeland Arena in Burnaby.
With 10 Shamrocks, five Prince George call-ups and four guest players from Coquitlam and other Lower Mainland areas, the Irish had a tough time finding any solid team chemistry in a hurry.
An odd tournament schedule saw the Shamrocks play a 2 p.m. Friday game quite shorthanded as many players had work commitments and couldn’t travel until the afternoon. The Shamrocks cruised to a 10-5 victory over the PoCo Saints, scoring early and often, with only 11 runners. Steve Clark was named MVP with two goals and two assists.
In Game 2, despite having a full bench, the Shamrocks seemed to lack enthusiasm and fell 9-3 to the Victoria Blazers.
The loss forced a must-win encounter against the eventual silver medalist Richmond Roadrunners. Led by a stellar showing by Shawn Flintoff (plays for the Rocks in the annual Stealth Masters tournament) the Roadrunners won 9-3.
In the final mean-nothing tilt of the round-robin tournament, the Shamrocks fell 9-7 to the Ladner Pioneers.
The Shamrocks fell behind 6-1 before Damen Calfa, a PG Bandits sniper, and his rookie phenom adversary, 17-year-old Doug Porter, each bagged two goals each to make it 6-5 with five minutes remaining.
However, some very controversial calls resulted in two powerplay goals for the Pioneers.
Chad Pounder electrified the crowd with bodies hitting the floor in every direction as he played in possibly his last career Senior C game.
“We play a much more physical style in the Okanagan and we couldn’t make the adjustments,” said Armstrong coach Ryan Nitchie.
“They do a lot of slashing and moving picks and there was a lot of FIFA-style diving going on and the refs seemed to buy every one of them.
“We really want to thank the Prince George players who came down to join us. We’ve developed a great relationship with the Doig family and their team and it was great to have Matt Rochon and Doug Porter from the Stylers join us as well.”
Rookie Bandits goaltender Jonathon Wittmeier and his father Don joined the Shamrocks for the weekend and split goaltending duties with Chad Pieper.
The host Port Moody Express defeated Richmond in the gold-medal final.
“We had a great year and it would have been nice to get the commitment from our entire team to make the trip to Burnaby to test ourselves against the Lower Mainland teams but it just didn’t happen,” said Nitchie
“I think we would have been very competitive if our offensive talent had made the trip and our entire defensive corps competed – we have good chemistry together as a team and that’s what you need to win these tournaments.”
The Shamrocks will finish the season with a golf event and awards ceremony in September.