Vernon Tigers for Armstrong Shamrocks in semis

Armstrong Shamrocks to face Vernon Tigers in Thompson Okanagan Junior Lacrosse League playoff opener.

  • Jun. 30, 2013 11:00 a.m.

It wasn’t the dream ending the Armstrong Shamrocks were looking for, but they are bound for the Thompson Okanagan Junior Lacrosse League playoffs regardless.

The Rocks wrapped up their schedule on the road with a dismal 16-4 loss to the No. 1 seeded Kelowna Raiders Thursday night at Memorial Arena.

Armstrong, who finished third at 4-9-3, begins its TOJLL semifinal series by visiting the No. 2 Vernon Source For Sports Tigers (12-3-1) Tuesday night (all games 7:30) at Kal Tire Place.

Game 2 of the best-of-five set goes Friday at Nor-Val Sports Centre, with the third tilt set for Saturday at Kal Tire Place.

The 12-3-1 Raiders, who shaded Vernon for first on goal differential, entertain the fourth-ranked Kamloops Venom (5-10-1) in the other semi.

Had Armstrong won Thursday, they would have faced the rough-and-tumble Raiders.

“It was probably better for us because we match up better against Vernon than we do Kelowna anyway,” said Irish head coach Bryan Cope.

“But I hope we bring our A game. It’ll be a short series if we play like we did last night.”

The Shamrocks started Thursday with only 14 runners, and then lost Colton DeBoer when he was ejected for fighting Scott Renner in the third period.

Cope hopes he can muster enough bodies to field three lines against Vernon. He added the lack of manpower seems to be affecting team morale.

“It’s like they’re tired before they start,” said Cope.

“They think that if you start with 14 it’s the end of the world. It’s mental. You have to push yourself beyond that.”

To have success against the Tigers, Cope said the Shamrocks will have to find a way to slow down Vernon snipers Ryan Sarazin and Jordan Orr.

“We need to stay 5-on-5 and keep our heads in it,” said Cope. “We need to work our asses off for the loose balls and run our motion (offence).”

Drew Hassard was the Shamrocks’ main threat Thursday night, pocketing two goals in the first period and another in the second. Sam Hanley supplied the other snipe. Austin Williamson and Stephen Ringdal earned assists.

Andrew McMillan recorded 5+3 for the Raiders. Ryland Davidson netted a hat trick and league scoring leader Brendan Urban (61-45-106 in 16 games) collected 2+6.

Cope was annoyed by the Raiders’ boorish demeanor, saying their style of play goes well beyond swagger.

“They’re playing their same eight guys,” said Cope. “Even at the end of the game they’re up by 12 goals and they still have their superstars out there. It’s a joke.”