The Vernon Re/Max Tigers’ quest for a third-place finish got a little more difficult after they suffered back-to-back losses in Thompson Okanagan Junior Lacrosse League play.
The fourth-place Cats (5-7-1) dropped a couple of close games, falling 7-5 to the first-place Kelowna Raiders Saturday night at Wesbild Centre before bowing 8-7 to the host South Okanagan Flames Monday in Penticton.
Vernon now needs a pair of road wins to lock up third. They visit the Raiders (11-2) Thursday night at Memorial Arena, and end the regular season Saturday in Kamloops against the Venom (7-6-1).
The top two teams get a first-round bye, with the remaining four playing best-of-three series.
The Tigers got off to a solid road start against the 5-9 Flames Monday, getting two goals from Nolan Frame and a single from Midget call-up Jordan Orr, who added another goal in the second period.
“They started fast-breaking us in the second and their goalie (Dean Grimm) was throwing long bombs all night,” said Tigers’ GM Rich Zecchel.
“We made some adjustments in the third to get guys in front of him, but it was too late by that point.”
Craig Bigsby, with a goal and three helpers, and Riley Soleway also connected for Vernon. Frame and Orr each pocketed two assists. Josh Greenwood, with 2+1, and Quinn Ramsay, with a deuce, were the main threats for South Okanagan.
Tyler Landry took over netminding duties from Josh Point midway through the third period.
The Tigers put on a solid defensive showing against the Raiders Saturday night, but a late penalty swung the game in Kelowna’s favour.
“Tied with two minutes left and we take an untimely penalty and it essentially cost us the game,” said head coach Myles Brumpton.
Defenders Brennan Plante (2+1), Aaron Green and Darryl Landels helped power the Tiger offence with transition goals from the back end. Frame fired the other marker.
“Our defence was the difference in the game. We scored four goals off the transition,” said Brumpton. “It was probably one of the fastest games we have played all year. It was a very pleasing game for fans to watch.”
Meanwhile, the 7-5-2 Armstrong Shamrocks will look to wrap up second place as they entertain the Flames Friday night (7:30) at Nor-Val Sports Centre.