The Kamloops Venom scored six unanswered goals over the game’s final 42 minutes 17 seconds to post their 12th straight Thompson Okanagan Junior Lacrosse League victory, a 10-5 decision over the hometown Vernon Iron Ghost Construction Tigers Saturday, June 25, at Kal Tire Place.
Power play markers from Caleb Campbell and Nolan Virgo at 17:43 and 19:36, respectively, capped a wild first period that saw the teams score 11 goals with Kamloops taking a 6-5 lead into the intermission.
Kaden Dempsey and Seamus Bankier, on a powerplay, scored in the second frame to give the Venom an 8-5 lead heading into the third period. Josh Abel and Temeke7 Gottfriedsen, with his third of the game, had markers in the final period.
The Venom built a 3-1 first-period lead on goals from Campbell (first of two), Gottfriedsen and Jax Anderson, only to have the Tigers roar back with three straight goals from Colten Colmorgen and Kael Black on powerplays, and a shorthanded beauty from Thomas Pain which gave Vernon a 4-3 lead at 12:49.
Gottfriedsen tied the game for Kamloops at 14:44 before Vernon affiliate call-up Aidan Wattie scored at 16:29, giving the Tigers their final goal and lead of the night.
Wattie also added two assists.
Damien Glover opened the Vernon scoring at 4:02, which tied the game 1-1.
Robert Gerow made 22 saves over the final two periods for Kamloops and finished the game with 31 stops.
Virgo will be looking at some league discipline after receiving a five-minute match penalty for spearing in the third period.
Derek Pereboom made 51 saves in goal for the Tigers, who finished the regular season at 3-10-3, and without an on-floor victory at home. Their only win at Kal Tire Place was a 1-0 forfeit victory over the South Okanagan Flames in what was to be the team’s home opener.
Kamloops (12-1) moved into a first-place tie with the Kelowna Kodiaks (12-3) with the win, and travel to Oliver Sunday, June 26, to meet the Flames.
South Okanagan officially clinched a playoff spot Saturday, and eliminated Armstrong in the process, dumping the Shamrocks 15-4 at the Nor-Val Sports Centre.
The Flames (5-9) clinched third place with the victory, and the Tigers finish fourth.
South Okanagan and Kamloops have a make-up game to play, with no date announced yet. Kamloops can still finish first. They are slated to end the regular-season July 9 in Kelowna.
The league has announced the best-of-three semifinals will be played July 11, 12 and 13*, meaning Vernon and South Okanagan will have home games Tuesday, July 12.
Dates for the best-of-five league final will be July 17, 19, 21, 23* and 25* (* – if necessary). The league champion will host the B.C. Junior B championships on the August long weekend.