Armstrong, Vernon renew senior boxla rivalry

Teams play a tame, 40-minute, two-period icebreaker game with Armstrong beating Vernon 6-4

The A535 may have been flowing among Vernon Tigers senior lacrosse players Sunday.

For the first time in seven years, the Tigers fielded a team and participated in the Thompson Okanagan Senior Lacrosse League’s Icebreaker tournament Saturday at the Nor-Val Sports Centre in Armstrong.

The squad, resurrected by former Armstrong Shamrocks player Brennan Plante with James Hurst behind the bench, joined the host Irish and Kelowna Raiders from the four-team loop (Kamloops Rattlers did not have enough players Saturday) to take part in the Icebreaker) in playing three mini games. Each game featured two, 20-minute periods with a running clock.

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The Tigers, who last played in the league in 2012, lost 7-2 to the Raiders and 6-4 to the Shamrocks. Kelowna has returned to the league after a year’s leave of absence.

“Overall I thought it went pretty well,” said Plante. “Most of the guys on our team haven’t played in game situations in six or more years. I thought our defence and goaltending was better than expected. Kelowna and Armstrong are going to be the top two teams and holding them to three goals a period was a great accomplishment for our new squad.

“Offensively we struggled. We’ve had limited practice time together and most of us haven’t played together in the past. The chemistry will come. The game against Armstrong was a huge improvement over the first game with shot opportunities. What really hurt is only having 13 guys. We’re still looking to fill our roster. Having a short bench doesn’t give you the best chance of winning games.”

Former Vernon Junior Tigers scoring star Ryan Sarrazin scored both goals against the Raiders in a game that was tied 2-2 after the first period. He then scored three of the four goals against the Shamrocks with Plante collecting the other marker. Josh Point played every minute in goal for the Senior Tigers.

Milan Marcetta picked up a hat trick for Armstrong against Vernon, the first action between the two storied rivals since 2012. Kyle Versteeg added two and Logan Strohm had the other for the Shamrocks.

“It was great playing against Vernon again. This league was built on our rivalry,” said veteran Armstrong netminder Chad Pieper. “Brennan has done a good job getting them going this year.”

Pieper played only the first period of a 9-4 loss to Kelowna, giving way to former Junior Shamrocks goalie Connor Senn.

Marcetta, Strohm, Versteeg and Jorge Sam scored against the Raiders, who will be the visitors in the Shamrocks’ home opener Friday, April 26, at the Nor-Val Sports Centre.

The Tigers will open on the road that same night in Kamloops, against the Rattlers. Vernon’s home opener is Friday, May 3, against Armstrong.

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