Morning Star Staff
They didn’t whine about another night with a short bench. Instead, the Vernon Tigers went out and knocked off the first-place Armstrong Shamrocks 7-6 Friday night at the Wesbild Centre.
It was the second straight year the Cats brushed back the Irish in the Aaron’s Challenge Cup, improving their Okanagan X-treme Lacrosse Association record to 3-4.
“We never even talked about being short (13 runners) at all,” said Tigers’ coach Lawrie Skolrood. “We had a great crowd tonight which always helps motivates the guys and they really wanted to win it for the fans. It’s all part of our philosophy of getting better everytime we’re on the floor and the guys played really well. It was very entertaining lacrosse.”
Tyler Plante opened the scoring with an unassisted goal in the first minute, firing a shot past Shamrocks’ starting netminder Owen Siddall.
Kirk Krause made it 2-0 before Armstrong bounced back with two goals from Braydon Sanders and Steve Clark before the end of the first period.
The Tigers also started the second frame with an early goal as veteran Bryan Cope found the back of the net just 23 seconds in. The teams then swapped goals a few times with Cope collecting his second of the night, a powerplay marker to tie it 5-5 with 90 seconds left in the period.
Captain Chad Pounder gave the Shamrocks the lead as he slipped one past Tigers goalie Iver Sandaker just five minutes into the third period.
The Cats took advantage of a powerplay opportunity at the midway mark of the third as Rob Short netted his second of the game, the 6-6 equalizer.
Plante pocketed the winner three minutes later when he beat Siddall with a hard shot.
Iver Sandaker was in a groove for the Tigers with 44 saves, while the ever-improving Siddall recorded 41 stops.
Plante, who finished with 2+1, was chosen first star, while Short (2+1) took second and Steve Clark of the Shamrocks, with two goals, was third star. Armstrong fell to 5-3, two points ahead of the second-place Kelowna Raiders, who edged the visiting Kamloops Rattlers 6-5 Friday night.
“It was a back and forth game, hard-fought,” said Plante. “It seems like we were always short of breath out there. We gave it our all.”
Said Short: “A lot of nights, we have a limited number of players. It’s hard. We always have to play it smart the make the best of our abilities. I thought we played really good tonight.”
Junior Shamrocks drop pair
It was a hard two nights of lacrosse for the Armstrong Junior Shamrocks as they bowed 11-7 to the Kamloops Rattlers Friday night at the Nor-Val Sports Centre after losing 10-7 to the host Kelowna Raiders Thursday night.
Shamrock GM Ryan Nitchie said the 9-2 Raiders used a planned tactic of fear and intimidation to rough up the Shamrocks leading scorers Owen Barker, Brett Hawrys and Stephen Ringdal
However, Barker won a clear decision in a first-period fight with Ryan Phillips. The game turned ugly when Ringdal was attacked from behind by Phillps after scoring a goal on the powerplay resulting in Phillips ejection.
League points leader Tyler French of the Raiders was ejected midway through the second period after a blind side cross check to a Shamrock player who was making a line change at the bench, earning a game misconduct.
The 7-5-1 Shamrocks capitalized on that power play when Nathan Marcetta ripped a top corner shot from the shooter position.
In the dying seconds, Marcetta was challenged by Shawn Hochhausen and the Enderby slugger proved more than the Raiders tough guy could handle as Marcetta landed several hard shots to win a clear decision.