The Delta Islanders scored eight unanswered goals in the second period to capture their first B.C. Junior B Lacrosse championship.
The Islanders doubled the Vernon Source for Sports Tigers 14-7 in the gold medal final before 500 fans Monday afternoon at Kal Tire Place.
“It feels so great. We put lots of work into this team and now there is no doubt that we are the best team in the province,” said Islanders’ coach Dave Haller. “Our guys played phenomenal this weekend. I’m super proud of our guys.”
The Islanders downed the Tigers 15-7 earlier in round-robin play.
The Tigers led 4-3 after the first frame before the train came off the tracks in the second.
“I could tell our guys were a little nervous in the first. They were playing not to lose instead of trying to win. But we got back to how we normally play, came out in the second and got our mojo back,” said Haller.
The Tigers feel like they played a strong game but got slighted in the second.
“I thought we won two out of three periods today,” said Tigers’ coach Myles Brumpton. “I thought the referees were the difference in the second. The penalties were six to one against us in the period. They dictated the game too much.”
Later, after cooling down from an emotional game, Brumpton was more congenial.
“I would like to congratulate Delta. They are a good team and a formidable opponent,” said Brumpton.
Tournament MVP Ray Calderwood led the second-period surge with a pair of snipes.
“This is a great way to end my junior career. In the past I’ve won silver and bronze, so this is perfect,” said Calderwood, who finished with 11 goals and 18 points. Calderwood finished third in the West Coast Junior Lacrosse League scoring with 23 goals and 67 points.
Sam Clare supplied five goals and Jordan Thauli pulled a hat trick for Delta, while singles came from Brandon Moroz, Dallas Chriptyk, Tyler Wickett and Stephen Alexander.
The six-foot-one, 205 pound Clare attends Simon Fraser University where he bunks with Tigers d-man Bayne Bosquet. Clare, who will be entering his senior year, scored 44 goals and 54 points for the field lacrosse Clan last season.
For one Islander, it was the perfect way to cap off a homecoming weekend. Mason Limb was a member of the Tigers last year and was excited at the chance to square off with his old mates.
“It was fun going against those guys. We both knew that the games were going to be rough, and they were, but I wouldn’t want it any other way,” said Limb.
Prior to the medal games, the tournament all-stars were announced with a pair of Islanders and Tigers cracking the roster.
Aaron Jensen was named top goaltender and joined his teammate, Tigers’ captain Brett Hanna, on the all-star squad. Clare and Islanders’ captain Calderwood were named to the team along with Derek McLeod of the Saanich Tigers and Kyle Pauwels of the Kamloops Venom.
Ryan Sarazin and Darrell Landels each bagged a pair of goals for the Tigers, who got singles from Mitchell Anderson, Austin Lewarne and Sean Connors.
This was Hanna’s curtain call with the Cats and he is satisfied with the way his career ended.
“It was a hell of a ride. I’d do anything for these guys. This was the best experience,” said Hanna. “To be second-best in the province with these group of guys is all I can ask for right now.”
Other graduating Tigers are Bayne Bosquet, Lewarne, Mack Leroux and Connor Buick, who missed the final after taking a ball in the face against Saanich.
The Tigers are still searching for their first provincial crown. This was their third runner-up finish.
Following the championship, the Tigers held their team awards night at the Landels household to celebrate a successful season.
Darrell Landels won the top scorer and his brother Thomas won the rookie of the year award. Buick won the most improved player award, while Bosquet and Jensen shared the top defender award. Liam Macphee and Braden Barr split the unsung hero award and the team shared the MVP award with Hanna and Darrell Landels. Hanna also collected the coaches choice award.
“I’m very proud of what this team accomplished. Gold would have been nice, but silver is still a great accomplishment,” said Brumpton. “The boys deserved it.”
Earlier in the day, the Venom clipped the Saanich Tigers 15-14 in overtime.
The Tigers iced the Kamloops Venom 14-9 Sunday morning and edged the defending champion Saanich Tigers 5-4 Sunday night.
The Islanders doubled Saanich 12-6 Sunday afternoon and ambushed the Venom 18-6 Sunday night.
Former Armstrong Shamrock Brett Hawrys won a B.C. Junior A Lacrosse championship with the Coquitlam Adanacs.
The Adanacs edged the New Westminster Salmonbellies 12-8 in Game 7 Monday night at Queens Park Arena for their sixth consecutive title.
The Adanacs will now move on to face the Alberta champion Calgary Mountaineers in a best-of-five Western final series that begins Thursday night at the Coquitlam Sports Centre.