Liza Mazurek/Morning Star Kamloops Venom goalie Matt Hans battles Ethan Anderson for the ball in Game 3 of the Thompson Okanagan Junior Lacrosse League playoff action Tuesday night at Kal Tire Place.

Liza Mazurek/Morning Star Kamloops Venom goalie Matt Hans battles Ethan Anderson for the ball in Game 3 of the Thompson Okanagan Junior Lacrosse League playoff action Tuesday night at Kal Tire Place.

Venom complete sweep of Tigers

The Kamloops Venom are the Thompson Okanagan Junior Lacrosse League playoff champions for the second straight year.

In the last two Thompson Okanagan Junior Lacrosse League regular seasons, the Vernon Sun Valley Source For Sports Tigers have two losses and a tie and two league pennants.

In the last two playoffs, the Tigers have six defeats and no titles.

The Kamloops Venom won their second straight TOJLL championship, and third in five years, Tuesday night in Vernon, holding on to edge the Tigers 10-7 at Kal Tire Place to complete a three-game sweep of the best-of-five final.

“It kills us,” said a dejected Vernon head coach Chris Scabar of a second straight finals loss after going 29-2-1 the past two years.

“It’s pretty upsetting for me, especially as an older coach. It was a tough series. They (Kamloops) are a very good club, they really are. We got beat by a good team. Half of my team are first-year players, so we got lots of development and I think we’re going to be great.”

The two teams have met in the final the last five years with Kamloops winning three titles, including last year, where they jumped out to a 2-0 series lead only to watch the Tigers win the next two to force a fifth and deciding game in Vernon, which the Venom won 15-14.

“Last year, we were up 2-0 and it was kind of a surprise to everyone including us,” said Kamloops captain Riley Peterson who, along with teammate Kyle Pauwels, had two goals and three assists in the clincher.

“We didn’t want to repeat last year and try to win it at home, we wanted to end it right here, right now and get it done with. I couldn’t be more proud of these guys.”

The Venom, who finished second to the Tigers (13-2-1) at 11-5 in the regular season, went 6-0 in the TOJLL playoffs, and now advance to the B.C. Junior B championships next weekend in Coquitlam.

Kamloops put Vernon in a bit of a hole late in the first period Tuesday, extending a 3-2 lead to 5-2 with pair of goals 22 seconds apart in the final minute of the frame.

The Venom led 8-4 after two, then watched Vernon pull to within a goal at 8-7 with 7:13 left in the game. Goals from Pauwels, in his fifth and final year in the league, and Brenden Bickert 1:45 apart sealed the championship for Kamloops.

The Tigers got goals from seven different players with Jordy Barr and Ryan Sarazin – playing his last game as a Tiger – leading the offence with four points each.

“It’s up there,” said a smiling Pauwels of his third championship in five years in the league. “We faced some adversity this year. There were people doubting us and we had ups and downs during the season. But we really peaked at the right time. Everybody chipped in.”

The Tigers got goals from seven different players with Jordy Barr and Ryan Sarazin – playing his last game as a Tiger – leading the offence with four points each.

Ethan Anderson, in his last game, Brett Olsen, Quintin Harrish, Conor Webb and Steele Pelletier also scored for the Tigers.

Matt Hans made 51 saves to get the win while Darnell Hauca stopped 36 shots for Vernon.

“Their experience, their speed and their movement to the middle of the floor was the difference in the series,” said Scabar. “We need to work on our offence a lot more, and get away from the style of shooting from the outside. We need to get our noses dirty on the inside.”

Sarazin graduates as the Tigers’ all-time leading scorer with 140 goals and 227 points. Jordan Orr, Sean Connors, Quintin Harrish and captain Liam Macphee join Sarazin and Anderson as graduates from the program.

“They’re a classy group of kids, a good bunch,” said Scabar.

Meanwhile, the Kelowna Raiders host the Kamloops Rattlers Sunday in Game 1 of the best-of-three Shaw Cup Senior C lacrosse semifinal series.

Game 2 goes Tuesday in Kamloops with a third game, if required, going Thursday.

The regular-season Rowcliffe Cup champion Armstrong Shamrocks will play the winner in a best-of-three series, starting Wednesday, Aug. 3 at Nor-Val Sports Centre.