The Vernon Source for Sports Tigers mounted a huge third period comeback and became the first team to knock off the Kamloops Venom.
The Tigers mauled the Venom 10-7 in Thompson Okanagan Junior Lacrosse League action Wednesday night before more than 250 patrons at Kal Tire Place.
“That was a huge win for us. Everyone is so pumped, we needed that,” said Tigers’ sniper Braden Barr.
Bayne Bosquet and Darrell Landels took over on the penalty kill midway through the third. Bosquet stole the ball, fighting off several Venom attackers before finding Landels in alone for the winner at 12:55.
The Tigers (10-2) outscored the Venom 6-1 in the final frame. Mack Leroux set the tone in the third when he wall-papered Venom runner Kyle McLellan one minute in.
“Poise. It is something these guys have developed over my four years here. They never panicked,” said Tigers’ coach Myles Brumpton.
Mitchell Anderson and Connor Buick each earned 2+1 for the Tigers, while Quintin Harrish sniped a pair, including one shorthanded. Darrell Landels and Barr each added 1+3 and Ryan Sarazin and Bosquet, into an empty net in the final minute, also scored.
“These things happen. To go undefeated through a season is tough. It has been close between Kamloops and Vernon all year,” said Venom head coach Gord Hardman.
The Venom (12-1) were without their leading scorer and captain Brady Jorgensen for most of the third period.
A Tigers’ defender accidentally fell onto the back of Jorgensen’s right leg. Jorgensen hobbled off to the bench and went straight to the dressing room for 10 minutes.
“Not sure what the injury is right now, but he was unable to finish the game for us,” said Hardman.
Jorgensen still managed a hat trick to add to his staggering 53 goals. Riley Peterson with 1+2, Jerome Thorne, Quinn Williamson-Solecki and McLellan also scored for Kamloops.
Aaron Jensen bailed out the Tigers after a slow start. The Venom outshot the Tigers 20-8 in the opening frame but only took a 2-0 lead into recess.
“A.J. was lights out tonight and that’s what we require out of him,” said Brumpton.
Jensen was spectacular in the first period with kick-save after kick-save. He calmly turned away Riley Polacik on a breakaway in the first few minutes of the game.
“He steps up when we need him to and he is playing huge for us right now; it’s awesome,” said Barr.
Jensen recorded 39 saves, but the statement of the night came with seconds remaining when Kamloops lobbed a rink-long shot at Jensen, who dropped kicked the ball as if he was down in Brazil.
The Tigers host the Kelowna Raiders (2-9) Saturday night at Kal Tire Place.
The Raiders stuffed the Armstrong Shamrocks 9-8 Wednesday night at the Nor-Val Sports Centre.
“We started lifeless and flat in the first. There was an overall lack of energy throughout the entire game,” said Shamrocks’ assistant coach Jeff Hanley.
Marlon Forrest, Austin Pugh and Joel Castle each sniped a pair for the Shamrocks (4-8), with singles coming from Hamish Crick and Sam Hanley.
Nick Alcorn and Kristian Stead sniped a pair of goals and the Raiders (2-11) received singles from Cam McMillan, River Lafferty, Josh Dubrett, Riley Stewart and Trevor Reed.
The Shamrocks battle the Venom Sunday night in Kamloops.