The Armstrong Shamrocks hope to sweep the best-of-five Rowcliffe Cup (formerly Shaw Cup) Thompson Okanagan Senior Lacrosse League championship series tonight versus the Kelowna Raiders (7:30) at Nor-Val Sports Centre.
Superstar Brett Hawrys scored four goals on his birthday to pace the Shamrocks to a 11-5 Game 2 win Friday night at sweltering Memorial Arena. Braydon Sanders bagged two shorthanded goals, while Cam Nelson recorded two spectacular transition goals for the Irish.
The game started off with some dramatics as Raider enforcer brothers Darren and Trevor Lornson proceeded to taunt the Shamrocks players during the pre-game warm up.
The Shamrocks cooler heads prevailed and they virtually ignored the antagonism only to pump in three goals in three minutes right off the opening face off.
“Our players came to play lacrosse not engage in clownery. That behavior is a throwback to the past; our team is the future” said Shamrocks head coach/GM Ryan Nitchie.
The Shamrocks piled on the scoring with offensive player of the game Steve Clark potting a hat trick in the first period as the Shamrocks took a 7-3 lead,
“Their antics at the beginning of the game had the opposite effect on me; they just woke me up,” said Clark., the Armstrong captain.
The game turned erratic in the second period marred by penalties and undisciplined play. Hawrys was deliberately slashed in the leg by Wes Donnelly during a face off following a goal and limped off gingerly. Shamrock veteran enforcer Devin Rodger proceeded to locate Donnelly on the floor and engaged him in a clearcut pugilistic encounter and clearly won a TKO decision.
Both players were ejected and issued one-game suspensions.
When the teams returned to playing lacrosse, Kody Nitchie scored his first of the year on a Bjorn Borgesque tennis shot. Will Hanley and Hawrys added singles as the Shamrocks led 10-5 after 40 minutes.
Both teams settled down in the third period with the Shamrocks sparked by netminder Kody O’Brien shutting the door on the Raiders. The strong, agile and physical style of the Rocks defense was too much in the stifling heat for the Raiders.
Nitchie is expecting a large and very boisterous crowd to fill the arena and cheer on the hometown boys to their third consecutive league championship tonight.
“We have a chance to repeat the historic team of 1996 that went undefeated in the regular and post season” said Nitchie, who alongside his brother Kody, won the championship that season. “This team is special, the skills, speed and dominance at both ends of the floor are something that lacrosse hasn’t seen in the Okanagan Valley in a very long time – if ever.”