Their choice was simple – lose and call it a season, or win and earn a chance to advance to the Thompson Okanagan Junior Lacrosse League finals.
The Armstrong Shamrocks did the latter, icing the host Kamloops Venom 4-2 in Game 2 of their best-of-three semifinal series Wednesday night at Memorial Arena.
“It was a really good game,” said Irish head coach Pat Nelson.
“We really tried to get the intensity picked back up and focus on our systems. We’re happy to be bringing this back home for Game 3 (Saturday night, 7:30 p.m. at Nor-Val Sports Centre).”
Sensing the desperation of their situation, the Shamrocks raced out to a 3-0 first-period lead on goals by Brett Hawrys (2) and Joel Castle.
After allowing the Venom back in the game by surrendering two goals in the second frame, Armstrong put it away on Hawry’s hat trick marker in the third.
Owen Barker played the setup role to perfection, earning three helpers.
“They were aware of where we’re at,” added Nelson.
“Our defence really stepped up, we played as a team and really supported each other.
“Quinn (Braybrook, 38 saves) was solid in net and held us in there.”
In the other TOJLL semifinal, the Vernon Tigers and Kelowna Raiders squared off in Game 3 Thursday night in Kelowna.
The winners of the two series will meet in the finals (dates to be determined).