New-look Tigers rattle Rocks
Fans tailgated and the Vernon Source for Sports Tigers donned savvy new jerseys in front of more than 450 fans as Junior B lacrosse finally arrived in Vernon Saturday night.
The Tigers sent the crowd home happy as they stopped the Armstrong Shamrocks 12-3 in Thompson Okanagan Junior Lacrosse League action at Kal Tire Place.
It was Vernon’s home opener. The Tigers (6-2) took a backseat this spring as the Royal Bank Cup used Kal Tire Place.
The Tigers came out in a new retro-styled jersey. Tigers is proudly written in cursive across the front over a cream background, while blue and orange stripes go over the arms and stomach.
Despite all the hoopla surrounding the home opener, the Tigers only led 4-3 heading into the third period.
“It took a while for the guys to get used to the bigger arena. It is a lot cooler in there with the climate control. It’s a nice change,” said Hanna.
“We talked in the second intermission that we needed to stick to our game-plan and stay focused. There was some stuff going on out there that was distracting us; we just needed to stick with our game,” said Hanna.
The Tigers outscored the Rocks 8-0 in the final frame. Ryan Sarazin pulled the hat trick, while Sean Connors, Jordan Orr and Connor Buick sniped two goals each for the Cats. Brett Hanna, Braden Barr and Darryl Landels added singles.
This was Connors’ last game for a while as he travels to Europe on a backpacking trip. He is expected back for playoffs.
Scoring for the Shamrocks (3-6) were Joel Castle, Cole MacFarlane and Cam Nelson.
The Tigers’ defence has held their opponents under five goals in five out of eight games this season.
“Our guys are playing as a unit. Colton Harrish, Mack Leroux and Brock Wagner are doing a great job. Guys are sliding off their checks and passing them along without letting anyone get loose,” said Hanna.
Aaron Jensen got the start for the Tigers. He leads the league with a suffocating 3.29 goals against average and .911 save percentage. Jensen was relieved by local boy Dylan Hiemstra with seven minutes to play.
“It felt amazing to play in front of that crowd. That was really nice of Keith to do that for me,” said Hiemstra.
Hiemstra played his minor lacrosse for the North Okanagan Legends.
During the second intermission, former Tigers’ coach and GM of 13 years, Rich Zecchel, was presented an award from current captain Brett Hanna and governor Rob Seaton in recognition of everything he has done for the franchise.
These days you can still find Zecchel in arenas coaching minor lacrosse.
The Tigers host the South Okanagan Flames (1-5) this Saturday at Kal Tire Place and the Shamrocks will battle with the Tigers again next Wednesday in Vernon.
The Tigers sit six points behind the Kamloops Venom (9-0) who host the Kelowna Raiders (1-7) Saturday night.
The Tigers will host the Junior B provincials, Aug. 2-4, at Kal Tire Place.