The Armstrong Shamrocks couldn’t escape the heat inside the air-conditioned Kal Tire Place.
The Vernon Source for Sports Tigers blasted the Shamrocks 11-1 in Thompson Okanagan Junior Lacrosse League playoff action Tuesday night.
Game 2 went Thursday night in Armstrong at Hassen Arena. Game 3 in the best-of-five goes 7:30 p.m. Saturday night at Kal Tire Place.
“It was a good start. Our guys played a hard 60 minutes, we stuck to our game plan and were disciplined,” said Tigers’ coach Keith Hanna.
The Tigers pounced on the Rocks early when Ryan Sarazin scored 15 seconds in, and extended the lead to 5-0 in the first 10 minutes on goals from Darrell Landels, Jordan Orr, Liam MacPhee and Quintin Harrish.
“Vernon is a bit intimidating. When you are the underdogs and you’re down five after the first 10, you get a bit tentative,” said Shamrocks’ coach Brett Logan.
The Irish got on the board with 1:15 remaining in the first when assistant captain Drew Hassard picked out the bottom right corner, from Cole MacFarlane.
“I told them to forget about the score and focus on the smaller things, like winning battles. I thought we came out better in the second,” said Logan.
Landels and Orr recorded their second on the night, and Connor Buick and Braden Barr added singles in the second.
“We tried to dominate in all aspects of the game,” said Hanna. “This game is hard and you’re going to take punishment, but we need to work through it and be onside with a team game.”
The Shamrocks swapped goalies seven minutes into the second. MacFarlane has been battling a hip issue lately, and was relieved by Kalvin Davyduke, who was cleared for the series after missing the last month with concussion-like symptoms. He was tested early when Sarazin rang one off the bar. Davyduke looked sharp the rest of the night with several big saves.
The Rocks are without their second and third leading scorers for the series. Sam Hanley and Marlon Forrest are in Cuba. The pair combined for 32 goals on the years.
Tigers’ defender Brock Wagner sniped his first career goal in the third period. Hanna pocketed the ball and presented it to Wagner after the game. He has played two seasons for the Tigers.
Bayne Bosquet added another midway through the third.
The Shamrocks organization came to the conclusion that they wanted to experience a playoff atmosphere in Hassen Arena, hence the move for Game 2 from the Nor-Val Sports Centre.
“Armstrong is a close-knit community and hopefully that benefits us. We need to take the energy from the fans and put it on the floor and give Vernon a run for their money,” said Logan.
Added Hanna: “We are fine with playing in Hassen. We practised there for the beginning of our year so we are used to it.”
The Kamloops Venom doused the South Okanagan Flames 22-6 in Game 1 of the other series.