One game, winner-take-all.
The Vernon Source For Sports Tigers – once down two games to none – forced a fifth and deciding contest in the Thompson Okanagan Junior Lacrosse League championship Thursday in Kamloops.
The Tigers erupted for 10 third-period goals in a 13-6 win over the Kamloops Venom, who suffered more than losing a chance to clinch the title in Game 4 at Kamloops Memorial Arena.
The fifth and deciding game is set for Monday, 7:30 p.m., at Kal Tire Place and the Venom don’t know who will play between the pipes.
Veteran goalie Mitch Horsman – who took a hard shot to the head in the third period – collapsed in the arena hallway immediately after stepping off the floor Thursday.
Horsman was attended to by first responders present at the arena, and by fire and ambulance personnel who were called to the scene.
“It was a very scary situation,” said Venom general manager Jan Antons on Friday. “You know it’s scary when he’s in the treatment room and doesn’t recognize people close to him.”
Horsman, who is in his final year of junior eligibility, was taken to Royal Inland Hospital for treatment.
He was released in the early hours of Friday morning after being diagnosed with a severe concussion.
Antons said Horsman has been ruled out for Monday and fellow goalie Dalan Etter did not dress for the Venom Thursday after suffering a lower body injury running to the bench on a delayed Vernon penalty in Game 3 at Kal Tire Place.
Asked what his club’s goaltending situation is for Monday, Antons said, “it’s to be determined.”
Kamloops led 1-0 after one period and 4-3 after 40 minutes, setting the stage for the Tigers’ offensive explosion.
“The flood gates opened,” said Vernon head coach Chris Scabar. “We held our ground defensively, we scored a couple of big goals and then we were relentless.”
Quintin Harrish led the Tigers with five goals. Ryan Sarazin and Steele Pelletier had two apiece while singles went to Darrell Landels, Thomas Landels, Ethan Anderson and Jay Seaton.
Jerome Thorne had four of the six Venom markers.
Vernon goalie Aaron Jensen was outstanding, making 54 saves while Horsman stopped 38 shots.
“We know Kamloops is going to come with their A-game,” said Scabar of Monday’s series-deciding game.
Scabar was taken aback when told of the injury to Horsman.
“That’s terrible. But whoever they have in goal, we can’t underestimate them because they’ve beaten us twice in this series.”
Monday’s winner will represent the league at the B.C. Junior B championships in Saanich starting July 31.