Five years ago, Shane Sargent finished with 20 goals and 77 points with the Whitby Junior A Warriors, just three back of John Tavares of the Mississagua Tomahawks.
Today, Sargent, who was taken in round four of the 2006 National Lacrosse League draft by Chicago, is scoring goals for the Vernon Tigers of the Okanagan X-treme League.
And he’s loving the extra space he’s finding on the floor as the Tigers’ offence keeps improving. The 25-year-old Oshawa product scored twice Friday night as the Cats shaded the Kamloops Rattlers 5-4 at Wesbild Centre.
Tanner Skolrood also scored twice, while ageless Bryan Cope added a single on a vintage backhander from in tight which fooled Rattler goalie Mike Smith.
“We’ve got more than one guy scoring so if they key on me, there’s a lot of other guys now who are scoring so it makes it a lot easier on me and makes it a lot harder on the defence of the other team,” said Sargent.
Kamloops sniper AJ Lockwood opened the scoring just 23 second in with a laser over the shoulder of starting netminder Glen Clissold.
Sargent equalized just five minutes later in a period which featured a pair of scraps with Sean Arnold taking on Nathan Woldum and Trevor (T-Bone) McEachnie of the Tigers dropping the gloves with JJ Woldum.
Cope, Sargent and Tanner Skolrood supplied second-period goals to put the Cats up 4-3. Kamloops (1-3) responded 39 seconds into the third with Ryan Hildebrand scoring.
Skolrood converted a powerplay tally to help the Tigers improved to 2-2 with their second straight victory. McEachnie and JJ Woldum went toe-to-toe for almost two minutes in a spirited re-match in the third period.
“That’s a real good lacrosse team we beat tonight and we did keep to our goals of getting better every period, and I give the guys full marks for that,” said Tigers’ coach Lawrie Skolrood. “We’re moving in the right direction.”
The Tigers’ defence, while still a work in progess, was the difference Friday night, battling for loose balls and laying out the Kamloops offence. The Cats killed off a four-minute Rattler powerplay.
In other league play Friday night, the Kelowna Raiders brushed back the Armstrong Shamrocks 12-9 at Nor-Val Sports Centre.
“We didn’t play very well,” said Shamrock goalie Chad Pieper. who along with several teammates, took in the NLL Western final in Calgary last weekend between the Washington Stealth and Roughnecks at the Scotiabank Saddledome. “It was one of those one-step-behind kind of nights. We were never really in the game. “
Jarrett Neigum led the Raiders with 4+1, while Luke Bailey bagged 2+2 and Jacob Illichmann provied 2+1. Kyle McLennan earned 1+3, Pho Heng added 1+2, while Victor Wiens and Braden Renner contributed singles.
League scoring leader Steven Clark, who played a few games for the WLA senior A Nanaimo Timbermen last season, scored four times for Armstrong, who lost for the first time in five starts. Kelowna went to 2-2.
Delaney Halifax counted 1+3 for the Irish, while Marc Wagner had 1+2 and other goals came from Thomas Belanger, Milan Marcetta and Kriss Yargeau.
Kelowna took 45 penalty minutes and Armstrong received 16. The Rocks were without captain Chad Pounder (laser eye surgery) and high-scoring Logan Strohm (work commitments).
Sean Koenig of the Rocks and fought Travis Lee in the second period with Lee injuring his shoulder as the players hit the floor.
The Shamrocks donated 50-50 proceeds to the Okanagan chapter of the Huntington’s Society of Canada. Matt Graves claimed $355 in the draw and donated half of his winnings back to the charity.
The league takes a break on the Victoria Day weekend. Vernon visits the Rattlers Sunday, May 29 at Kamloops Memorial Arena, while the Shamrocks face the Raiders Friday, May 27 at Kelowna Memorial Arena.
The NLL championship game between the Stealth and the Toronto Rock will be aired live on TSN today at 11 a.m.