Tigers open provincials with Saanich

Myles Brumpton’s contacts told him the Coquitlam Adanacs were clearly the best team in the West Coast Junior Lacrosse League.

Myles Brumpton’s contacts told him the Coquitlam Adanacs were clearly the best team in the West Coast Junior Lacrosse League.

The Adanacs, however, will not be in the B.C. Junior B Championships starting tonight in Burnaby, after losing 12-5 to the Delta Islanders Wednesday night in Game 3 of their playoff final series.

Brumpton’s Thompson Okanagan champion Vernon Source For Sports Tigers (12-3-1) open the four-team tournament tonight at Copeland Arena against the Pacific Northwest League champion Saanich Tigers. Saanich (14-1-1) stopped the Westshore Bears (12-5-1) in the league playoff final.

“Everybody down there told me Coquitlam was going to go through so I’m very happy to hear that (they lost),” said Brumpton. “They’re a big, tough team with a few guys who get called up to Junior A.”

Vernon enters the provincials with a team high on depth, stingy defence and great goaltending from Joel Fruncillo. Craig Bigsby and Jordan Orr pulled hat tricks in the Tigers’ 8-7 final win over the Kamloops Venom.

“It’s tough to say who’s favoured,” said Brumpton. “Playoffs are a different beast. New guys step up for every team and every team will be at their best. Our guys are ready. It’s been two weeks and both (assistant coach Hanna) Keith and I noticed in practice that the guys are done practising; they’re ready.”

The Tigers face Delta Saturday at 12:30 p.m. and finish pool play Sunday morning versus Burnaby.

Saanich cruised to the Island title but were pushed to the limit by Westshore.

“Credit the Bears, they are our biggest competition on the Island,” said Saanich GM Chris Jackson.

“When they beat us (in regular season) we had a lot of players missing and Westshore is a very good team. They’re very physical, they play hard, and have added a couple of Junior A guys that are pretty good at the end of the season.”

Saanich has a dynamic offence led by captain Ethan Garland, who has long been coveted by junior A programs. He forms a one-two punch with Derek Jackson.

In net is another Victoria Junior A Shamrocks castoff, Cory Mayzes, who picked up a rare lacrosse shutout on June 12 against the Peninsula Warriors.

“We anticipate Mayzes going for most of the games but we’ll see how the series goes,” said Jackson.

Key for Saanich, however, is the transition with Jordan Stringer, Colin Bashfield and Austin Guerrero leading a high-powered counter-attack.

Nanaimo Timbermen did not  finish the season and Peninsula aborted the playoffs, creating an unexpected bye through the first round for the Bears and Tigers. Saanich won one game at the B.C.s last year, icing Westshore for bronze.

Delta, meanwhile, lost the West Coast final series opener 10-9 before blasting Coquitlam 12-2 in the second game.

Coquitlam placed first at 17-1-2, one point ahead of Delta (16-1-3). The Islanders are led by Dalas Chreptyk, who compiled 28 goals and 55 points, and Jordan Thauli (21G, 56 points).

Delta dispatched Burnaby 2-1 in the semifinals after doing likewise to the North Shore Eagles in the quarters.

Burnaby finished third at 14-5-1 in the 11-team loop, losing their semifinal series in three games to Delta. The Lakers swept the Port Coquitlam Saints in the quarters.

Burnaby is led by the high-scoring trio of Aaron Roberts (40 goals, 87 points), Kevin Galte (38G, 76 points) and Scott Petursson (23G, 68 points).

The B.C. champion qualifies for the western Founders Cup, Aug. 19-25, in Winnipeg.

Meanwhile, Vernon Tigers’ grad and former Thompson Okanagan MVP Brodie MacDonald finished the Western Lacrosse Association Senior A regular season as the top netminder.

MacDonald went 8-3-2 for the first-place Thunder with a 7.51 goals against average and .821 save percentage.

The Thunder (11-5-2) opened the best-of-seven semifinal series against the fourth-place Coquitlam Adanacs (9-8-1) Thursday night.