The Vernon Re/Max Tigers rallied from an early deficit to clip the Kelowna Raiders 7-6 in double-overtime in Game 2 of the Thompson Okanagan Junior Lacrosse League semifinals Monday night at Wesbild Centre.
The Cats’ Riley Soleway, who finished with three goals and an assist, buried the winner on a pick-and-roll, faking low and shooting high early in sudden death, ensuring a series-deciding Game 3 Thursday night in Kelowna.
“I won’t say it’s the best game we’ve played all year, but it was a great game. We just ran them into the ground,” said Tigers’ head coach Myles Brumpton, who celebrated the birth of his third child, daughter Chloey Grace Brumpton, Thursday.
“Defensively, we punished them. Offensively, we just continued to cycle the ball and capitalized on our opportunities.”
Down 3-0 in the first period, the Tigers recomposed themselves and cut the lead to one on goals by Midget call-up Jordan Orr and Soleway before the intermission.
Said Soleway: “We played pretty hard. Our defence was excellent. Our offence was good enough to win.
“They (Raiders) don’t like to lose, so it’s good to see them down sometimes.”
Vernon had to juggle its lineup after Mitch Steele left the game in the first period. He is questionable for Game 3.
“We didn’t get rattled,” said Brumpton, crediting Austin Lewarne for his tenacious two-way play, Soleway for his willingness to take punishment to provide offence and netminder Josh Point for anchoring the Tigers’ defence with a terrific 46-save showing.
“We had some big individual performances, but they were weaved into an overall team effort.”
Singles by Braden Barr and Connor Payne, another call-up, handled Vernon’s second-period attack. Jordan Urban answered for Kelowna to make it 4-4 after 40 minutes.
Goals by Soleway and Kelowna’s Sheldon McDonald kept the score deadlocked after regulation, and in a 10-minute non-sudden death period, singles by Payne (2+1) and Patrick McMillan pushed it to sudden death.
Jay Seaton recorded three helpers for the Tigers, Craig Bigsby had two.
Kelowna netminder Tanner Belsham recorded 47 stops.
In Game 1 Saturday night in Kelowna, the Raiders scored off the opening faceoff and never looked back, cruising to an 11-4 rout.
Tyler French (3+2), Brendan Urban (2+2) and McDonald (2+1) were the main scoring threats for Kelowna. Brennan Plate, Bigsby, Nolan Frame and Steele handled Vernon’s offence.
“Third period was a much closer game, but they didn’t take their foot off the pedal. They wanted to send a message,” said Brumpton.
“We just couldn’t penetrate their defence.”
Lewarne held his own in his first junior lacrosse tilt against veteran scrapper Scott Renner.