Injuries and illness hit the Cowichan Rats lacrosse team hard this week.
Limited to only 13 runners against the Victoria Blazers at home last Saturday, the Rats managed to pull off an 8-3 victory. It didn’t work out as well on Tuesday night, however, when the Rats, with only 12 runners on hand, lost 11-4 to the Saanich Express in Esquimalt.
On Saturday, the Rats were playing their first game of the season without Vancouver Island Lacrosse League scoring leader Tyson Black, and the Blazers were coming off a big win two nights earlier in which they put up 16 goals on the Victoria Jokers, but the Rats rallied behind three goals from Ryan King and an outstanding performance by goalie Ryan Brabander.
Clayton Vickers added two goals and one assist, Brayden Zunti had a goal and three assists, and Shayne Alexander and Conor Manahan each had a goal and an assist. Brabander, already leading the VILL in all goaltending categories, had perhaps his best outing of the year, making 27 saves as the Rats outshot the Blazers 48-30.
Black returned to the lineup on Tuesday and scored one goal and set up two others, but the shorthanded Cowichan team couldn’t get past the fully stocked Express. Vickers and Manahan also scored, and Dylan Dewarle had a pair of assists.
With 11 wins and two losses, the Rats have just two regular season games left.
They play host to the Westshore Aces at the Cowichan Arena this Saturday at 7:30 p.m., then visit the Victoria Jokers next Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. They will host a playoff game on July 9 at 7:30 p.m.