The North Okanagan Midget Legends struck gold at the Snakebite Classic Minor Lacrosse Tournament and they had to sweep a trio of host Kamloops teams to earn it.
Down to 11 runners, and with rookie Marlon Forest standing in for injured keeper Tyler Landry, the Legends pulled an 11-10 comeback win over Kamloops #2 in Sunday’s gold-medal game.
“He stood on his head,” said coach Dave DeShane, or Forest’s Heart & Hustle performance.
With the Legends trailing 5-1 after 20 minutes, DeShane, assisted by his son Steve, was forced to tweak his systems.
“We switched to a zone defence and just shut them down,” said Dave. “It was really quite amazing; we were teaching on the fly.”
Mike Hanley paced the Legends with four goals and two assists, captain Jake Thomson recorded the team’s first three goals and game MVP Kalob Fox Mitchell Anderson and each had a pair.
North Okanagan doubled Kamloops #3 4-2 in semifinal action earlier Sunday.
Hanley buried a pair to earn game MVP, Thomson added 1+3 and Sam Hanley added a single.
In Saturday action, Landry posted back-to-back shutouts as North Okanagan blanked Quesnel 6-0, and then grounded Kamloops #1 2-0.
“To go into Kamloops and steal three games form our arch rivals…I can’t say enough about the whole team,” said Steve.
The Legends opened the tournament with a disappointing 6-3 loss to the North Shore Indians.
In Bantam play at the Snakebite, the Legends held on for a 6-5 win over Shuswap to secure bronze.
North Okanagan built a 5-1 lead, but with their bench shrinking due to injuries, Shuswap took advantage and pulled to within a goal.
Offence came from Darien Ottersen (2+1), Jordan Barr (2G), Shelby Connors and Stephane Richard. Chase Wirth had an assist.
In round-robin play, the Legends grounded Surrey’s Semiahoo 7-2, tied Langley 7-7 and pounded Kamloops #2 13-3 to finish atop their pool. They fell 6-5 to Langley in the semis.
The North Okanagan Nor-Val Rentals Bantam #3 squad improved to 4-5 with a pair of weekend wins over the Kelowna Kodiaks in Rutland.
The Legends took advantage of the shortbenched Kodiaks to win 10-2 in the opener, and 13-3 in the back end of the doubleheader.
Brady Marzocco (4G), Jake Pelletier (3+2), Conor Webb (2G) and Cole Martin handled the scoring in the first game. Assists came from Jack Lambert (2), Niklas Luttmerding and netminder Brad Gorrigan.
In the second game, Webb led the way with 5+3, Pelletier had 3+1, Marzocco added three goals and Luttmerding supplied 2+1. Assists came from Lambert (2), Nicholas Mann, Gorrigan and Tyson Reschke.
Gorrigan was stellar in net for both games, and Lambert was fearless in going to the tough areas.
In Pee Wee play, the Legends took both ends of their Saturday doubleheader against host Kelowna, winning 13-5 and 13-4.
James Francis fired seven goals on the weekend, with Seth Waterstreet close behind with six. Kayden Beauregard (3), Tanner Franje-Gilbert (3), Reece Hawthorne (2), Thomas Mackiewhich (2), Samual White, Josh Melbourne and Kael Black all got in on the offence.
Rhys Larsen, Macey Drabiuk and Eric Urquhart turned in stellar two-way efforts.
On Sunday, the Legends showed up in Penticton with just nine runners and fell 11-3.
Francis, Beauregard and Waterstreet netted singles.