Coaches with the Vernon Sun Valley Source For Sports Tigers are demanding excellence from their players over the B.C. Day long weekend.
The Tigers host the four-team B.C. Junior B Lacrosse Championships with the winner advancing to the national Founders Cup, Aug. 14-20, in Saskatoon.
Vernon, who lost a drama-jammed five-game Thompson Okanagan League final series to the Kamloops Venom, open provincials tonight (7:30) against the Vancouver Island champion Westshore Rebels (13-4-1). Kamloops (13-3) faces the West Coast champion Coquitlam Adanacs (15-1) at 4:30.
“The coaches say these four games have to be the best of our careers,” said Vernon captain Chris Inscho, 21. “Our coach (assistant), Tyler Plante, watched a couple of games down there so we have a little insight on Westshore and Coquitlam.
“We’ll pretty much just play our game and if we play our best, good things will happen.”
The Tigers (12-4) practised Thursday night and head coach Chris Scabar named the Midget players he will summon for Game 1. Jacob Brewer, one of four Midgets signed, may be called up for the opener.
“We’re all healthy,” said Inscho. “For me, personally, this is a big one, especially after losing that last game against Kamloops. It’s a saving grace being hosts. Everybody’s pretty fired up and practice Tuesday was a little more intense than usual. The coaches want us to bring more intensity this weekend.”
Vernon gets prime-time scoring from brothers Jake and Steele Pelletier, Jordy Barr, Conor Webb and Brett Olsen and win with stingy team defence and clutch goaltending from Darnell Hauca.
“Conor’s kind of my unsung hero,” said Scabar. “If there’s a scrum for a loose ball, he usually comes out with it. It’s not pretty but he comes up with it.”
Scabar gives major props to assistants Plante, Ryan Minchenko, Ryan Williamson and Casey Sherriff for getting the Tigers game ready.
“I couldn’t ask for a better group of coaches. We’re there and we could really pull off some upsets. I know the Island will give us a full press so we’re going to have to work hard to get out of our zone. We’re just as competitive as Kamloops and of course Coquitlam will be favoured. They have the tradition with that name.”
Rylee Marsh led Westshore with 30 goals and 77 points in the regular season, while Jesse Gough supplied 31 goals and 61 assists.
Coquitlam got 30 snipes and 58 points from Matt Smigel and 31 goals and 52 points from Chris Tyrene. Jeremy Basic and Chris Bosa each rang up 43 points.
The Adanacs disposed of the New Westminster Salmonbellies in a three-game final series.