Their final game didn’t go as hoped but one day, Vernon Iron Ghost Construction Tigers captain Jacob Brewer and alternate captain Kael Black will look back and realize they left everything on the floor.
Black scored all three of his team’s goals, two of them set up by Brewer, as the Tigers fell 14-3 to the regular-season champion Kamloops Venom Wednesday, July 13, at Kal Tire Place. The Venom swept the best-of-three Thompson Okanagan Junior Lacrosse League semifinal to advance to the league championship series for a ninth consecutive time.
Kamloops will play the winner of the other semifinal between the Kelowna Kodiaks and reigning champion South Okanagan Flames. Kelowna staved off elimination Wednesday with a 12-10 win at the Oliver Arena. The third and deciding game will be played Friday, July 15, in Kelowna. The best-of-five league championship begins Sunday, July 17, in Kamloops.
Black, Brewer, and injured Tigers runners Caden Colmorgen and Zack Gares all graduate from the Tigers. The quartet was honoured at centre floor with a lengthy ovation from fans and teammates following the post-game handshakes.
Black opened the scoring Wednesday with a powerplay goal just 1:50 after the national anthem, but Kamloops responded with eight unanswered before the first period was done, including scoring six times in a six-minute, 17-second span. Three of those goals were scored with the man advantage.
The Venom, which hasn’t lost an on-floor game in 2022 since their season opener April 30 in Kelowna, led 10-3 after 40 minutes.
Nate Van Unen had 2+2 to pace Kamloops while Kaden Dempsey, Trey Dergousoff and Millan Webster each added 2+1, and Josh Abel also scored twice.
Robert Gerow and Reed Watson, who played the final 10 minutes, combined to make 21 saves in goal for the Venom while Derek Pereboom stopped 54 shots for Vernon.
It was also the final game Wednesday for Tigers’ governor Harold Mann and general manager Duane Barr. The pair have been involved with the Vernon organization for years with theirs sons playing for the squad, and they stayed on after their kids graduated from the program. The duo was also honoured at centre floor with handshakes and hugs.
For the first time in six years, there will be a new Rowcliffe Cup playoff champion in the Thompson Okanagan Senior Lacrosse League.
The Kamloops Rattlers snapped the Armstrong Shamrocks’ streak of five consecutive titles Tuesday, July 12, in Kamloops, with a 13-8 semifinal win over the Irish.
Kamloops advances to face the unbeaten Kelowna Raiders in the league’s best-of-three championship series.
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