Liam Drabiuk (left) of the Vernon Tigers shields the ball from Nick Bryde of the host Kamloops Venom in Game 2 of the Thompson Okanagan Junior Lacrosse League final Tuesday night at Memorial Arena. Kamloops won 9-7 to even the best-of-five series 1-1.

Liam Drabiuk (left) of the Vernon Tigers shields the ball from Nick Bryde of the host Kamloops Venom in Game 2 of the Thompson Okanagan Junior Lacrosse League final Tuesday night at Memorial Arena. Kamloops won 9-7 to even the best-of-five series 1-1.

Kamloops Venom rebound to tie up Vernon Tigers

Kamloops Venom ground Vernon Tigers 9-7 in Game 2 of TOJLL final Tuesday night at Memorial Arena.

After dropping the series opener, the Kamloops Venom are right back in the mix of the Thompson Okanagan Junior Lacrosse League finals.

The host Venom rebounded with a 9-7 win over the Vernon Source For Sports Tigers in Game 2 of the best-of-five set Tuesday night at a sauna-like Memorial Arena.

Vernon had built a 2-0 lead on a pair of goals by Craig Bigsby, but faltered in the second frame as they were held scoreless while the Venom racked up five snipes.

“We came out flying, had a great first period. 2-0, no disappointments,” said Tigers’ head coach Myles Brumpton. “The second period, it was a penalty-fest and they capitalized. That was the game right there.”

Riley Peterson, with a pair, Trent Maunder, Brody Jorgensen and Jerome Thorne tallied to give Kamloops a 5-2 lead heading into the final period.

Vernon outscored the Venom 5-4 down the stretch, including a late goal with netminder Joel Fruncillo pulled for an extra attacker, but they couldn’t close the gap.

Sean Connors, Daryl Landels, Jordan Orr, Mason Limb and Nolan Frame counted singles for the Cats in period three. Thorne (2), Rob Peterson and Riley Peterson countered for Kamloops.

“We knew Kamloops would not be an easy series,” said Brumpton. “They’re a hard-working, determined team and last night that prevailed for them.

“We worked very hard on our scoring opportunities, but when we had those opportunities we just didn’t bury the ball.”

Fruncillo finished with 28 saves for Vernon, while Dalan Etter had 36 stops in the win.

Aside from the penalty problems in the second period, Brumpton said the Tigers matched up well with the Venom in Game 2. He doesn’t plan on changing the systems that have brought Vernon to this point.

“We’ve had a pretty solid game-plan throughout playoffs and we’re going to stick with it,” he said. “We’ll make minor adjustments as the game goes along like we always do.”

Game 3 went Thursday night at Kal Tire Place, with Game 4 set for Sunday night (5:30) at Kamloops Memorial Arena. If necessary, Game 5 would go Tuesday (7:30) in Vernon.

Meanwhile, the Kelowna Raiders shaded the host Kamloops Rattlers 12-10 in Game 1 of the Shaw Cup final Wednesday night at Memorial Arena.

Vic Wiens led Kelowna with 3+1, while Jordan Innes and Matt Gorges each pocketed a pair of goals. Riley Donahue pocketed 3+4 for Kamloops.

Game 2 of the Okanagan Senior C men’s championships goes tonight in Kelowna, with Game 3, if necessary, Sunday in Kamloops.