Shamrocks brush off Raiders

The Armstrong Shamrocks stuffed defending Shaw Cup champion Kelowna Raiders 16-8 Friday night.

Morning Star Staff

The Armstrong Shamrocks sent a strong message to the defending Shaw Cup champion Kelowna Raiders Friday night at the Memorial Arena with a one-sided 16-8 victory. That message: the Shamrocks are ready with a new attitude and young, skilled players.

The Shamrocks dominated every aspect of the Thompson Okanagan Senior Lacrosse League tiltfrom loose balls to pin-point passing, a lethal power play and most impressively, with crushing defence. Their 12-runner roster proved that as long as you have the right 12 athletes, anything can happen.

The Shamrocks jumped out to an early lead with newly acquired Prince George sniper Andrew Schwab scoring three goals in the first period. Jarret Medhurst, Steven Clark and Kyle Versteeg added singles. Vernon Tiger grad Braidy Webb scored his first senior goal on a blistering outside shot to give the Shamrocks a 7-2 lead after 20 minutes.

Armstrong started the second period with a smothering zone defence to punish Raider forwards who cut through the middle. Newbie defensive specialist and New Westminster Junior Salmonbellie grad Dylan Long made an impressive debut with bone-crushing hits made in partnership with Sheldon Nelson and Jamie Cockerill.

Ex-Nanaimo Senior A Timbermen Steven Clark notched powerplay and even-strength goals, while Drew Hassard, Medhurst and Versteeg had singles to open a 12-4 lead after two periods.

Despite the slower play in the third, Armstrong managed to score four more times, two by Schwab and singles by Versteeg and speedy Kas Boudreau.

At the 10:48 mark following Boudreau’s goal on the ensuing face off, Nick Evans challenged Long to a fight. Long used his extensive pugilistic experience from Junior A to stop Evans in a clear, spirited helmets-off decision.

Shamrocks’ bench boss Ryan Nitchie was thrilled with his teams performance.

“The skills, finesse and winning attitude of this team is a breath of fresh air; the precision passing and playmaking is remarkable and incredibly enjoyable to be a part of,” said Nitchie.

“Our guys didn’t worry about being short manned; they came to play lacrosse and really showed how the game can be played. Until the fight we only had six minutes in penalties – that’s how you win lacrosse games”

Added Rocks’ veteran all-star goalie Chad Pieper: “We did a lot of stuff right tonight, great defence in front of me, good outlets and our offense guys buried the ball on their chances. Everbody contributed, Austin Lewarne was a machine on defense and on loose balls and Cockerill was a beast.”