For seven consecutive seasons, from 2012 to 2018, the Vernon Iron Ghost Construction Tigers and Kamloops Venom met in the Thompson Okanagan Junior Lacrosse League championship series, the Venom winning four of them.
Now, the two rivals are meeting to determine a spot in the best-of-five.
The regular-season champion Venom host the Tigers in Game 1 of a best-of-three semifinal Monday (tonight), July 11, at Memorial Arena at 7 p.m. Game 2 is Wednesday, 7 p.m.,at Kal Tire Place. A third game, if necessary, would be played Friday, July 15, in Kamloops.
The league hasn’t had a playoff champion since 2019, when the loop was down to three teams, and the third squad, the South Okanagan Flames, won the title, beating Kamloops in the championship. The Flames knocked off Vernon 2-1 in the semifinal.
The Flames are taking on the expansion Kelowna Kodiaks, who have home floor advantage, in the other semifinal.
The Venom defeated the hometown Kodiaks 15-6 Saturday, July 9, for their 14th consecutive on-floor win. Kamloops finished on top of the standings with a 13-2-1 record. The B.C. Lacrosse Association overturned a 12-4 Venom victory over the South Okanagan Flames in Oliver June 26, awarding South OK the two points.
A makeup game between the Flames and Kamloops set for Friday, July 8, in Oliver, was not played due to a lack of referees. Each team was awarded one point.
Kamloops was 4-0 against Vernon this season, outscoring the Tigers 56-25 in the season series.
• The league held its first-ever all-star game in Kamloops Sunday, July 10, with each of its five teams represented.
Team White edged Team Black 13-12.
Jacob Brewer of the Tigers was the captain for Team White. He was joined on the squad by teammates Noah Pearson and Nate Williamson, along with goalie Ryley Lockhurst and runners Warin Buzzell, Ethin Campbell and Tegan Evans of the Armstrong Shamrocks. Vernon head coach Casey Sherriff and Armstrong assistant Dave Evans were on the bench for Team White.
Thomas Pain of the Tigers, and Joseph Jankowski, Jayden Gulka and Colton McCauley of Armstrong played for Team Black.
Kael Black and Carston Disher of Vernon were selected to the game, but were unable to attend.
• The unbeaten Kelowna Raiders whipped the Vernon Tigers 18-5 Friday at the Kelowna Memorial Arena to advance to the Thompson Okanagan Senior Lacrosse League’s best-of-three championship series.
The Armstrong Shamrocks, looking for a sixth consecutive Rowcliffe Cup playoff championship, face the hometown Kamloops Rattlers in the other semifinal Tuesday, July 12. The winner advances to meet Kelowna.
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.