The Vernon Tigers have made the Thompson Okanagan Junior Lacrosse League final a best-of-three affair.
The hometown Tigers whipped the Kamloops Venom 12-2 Wednesday night at Kal Tire Place, evening the best-of-five championship at a game apiece.
Game 3 is Friday night at the Kamloops Memorial Arena, with Game 4 returning to Vernon Sunday. Both games are 7:30 p.m. starts.
Vernon jumped out to a 4-0 first period lead, held Kamloops scoreless for 34 minutes and 30 seconds, and extended the lead to 9-1 after 40 minutes.
The final period was a parade to the penalty box with Kelowna referees Lorne Craig and Devin Craig calling 49 minutes in penalties, including 39 against the Venom. Through the first two periods, the Venom and Tigers were each whistled for four minor penalties with a 10-minute misconduct given to Kamloops’ Monty Chisholm late in the second period.
“I’m just hoping we find some discipline,” said Kamloops head coach Doug Clark. “If we don’t, this series is going to be over in a hurry.”
The Tigers scored three times with the man advantage in front of Darnell Hauca, who was brilliant in the Tigers net, finishing with 42 saves. Hauca got the hook in Game 1 after Vernon fell behind 5-1 in the opening period.
“Last game, we just didn’t play as a team in the first period and we kind of got down on ourselves,” said Hauca. “Me being pulled was just to bring the team back in, it was the right move. Tonight, we played as a team and we played our best game of the season, for sure.”
Conor Webb led Vernon with 3+4 while Jordy Barr also scored three times, Eric Reid and Jake Pelletier had two each and singles went to Brett Olsen and Chase Wirth.
Riley Peterson scored the Venom’s first goal on the team’s 26th shot while Quinn Williamson added the other goal. Matt Hans finished with 35 saves in the Kamloops goal.
The officials were quick to step in and stop a heated discussion between both teams’ coaching staffs at the end of the second period.
The loss snapped the Venom’s 14-game winning streak.
The two teams have split their six regular and post-season meetings.