The Cowichan Rats debuted their new jerseys in Tuesday’s game against the Blazers. (Rob Dewarle photo)

The Cowichan Rats debuted their new jerseys in Tuesday’s game against the Blazers. (Rob Dewarle photo)

‘Rat Fever’ rears its head

Cowichan not friendly territory for visiting lacrosse teams

The Cowichan Rats were handed a seemingly lopsided 8-2 loss by the Victoria Blazers on Tuesday, but only after a rampant case of the dreaded “Rat Fever” prevented the Blazers from travelling to a road game at the Cowichan Arena on Saturday.

The defending champion Blazers have won both games between the Victoria Senior Lacrosse League rivals in Esquimalt this season, but had to play desperation lacrosse to earn a 4-4 tie with the Rats when they clashed in Cowichan on May 25. When the Rats were scheduled to host the Blazers again last Saturday, the Victoria team was unable to muster a team, something the Cowichan players didn’t learn until they arrived at their home arena ready to play.

Badly outshot in the early going on Tuesday, the Rats got back in the game, but hit a lot of posts and crossbars behind Blazers goalie Rob Wood. Only Cowichan captain Dylan Dewarle was able to find the back of the net, which he did twice. Penalties again haunted the Rats, who were assessed 44 minutes worth of infractions, compared to eight for the Blazers.

Cowichan goalie Kevin Smith saw a lot of rubber, but finished with a respectable 31 stops, two more than Wood had in the Blazers net. The Rats debuted their new jerseys in the game, so at least they looked good despite the result.

Last Thursday, Curt Gailey scored four goals and set up another as the Rats defeated the Wsanec Arrows for the second time this season, prevailing 9-4 in Esquimalt. Kyle Kaltiainen scored twice, Ryan King and Pete Vanden Dungen had a goal and two assists apiece, and Brent Collett rounded out the scoring, while Smith made 27 saves for the win.

The VSLL schedule and standings have been disrupted somewhat by the dissolution for the remainder of the season of the Victoria Tugmen, but the Rats remain second with seven wins, three losses and one tie. Cowichan will host the Jokers, who absorbed the healthy players from the Tugmen, this Saturday at 7:30 p.m.