The Vernon Source For Sports Tigers needed a huge third period to brush back the host Armstrong Shamrocks 12-6 Wednesday night at Nor-Val Sports Centre.
Ahead by a goal going into the final frame, Vernon exploded for six more to secure the Thompson Okanagan Junior Lacrosse League win.
“In the third period, our guys took control of the game, on and off the floor,” said Vernon head coach Myles Brumpton.
“It was nice to see the leaders talking the whole time. We shut them down defensively.”
The Cats cruised to an early 4-1 lead after a shaky start by Shamrocks’ netminder Josh Pointe (31 saves). Singles by Ryan Sarazin, Nolan Frame, Braden Barr and Mason Limb, on a great dive through the crease, jumpstarted Vernon’s offence.
The Rocks came alive with a pair of goals in the last minute of the period. The final snipe was a solo effort by speedy Stephen Ringdal, who weaved through traffic to beat Vernon starter Aaron Jensen with 2.4 seconds to play.
“My hat’s off to Armstrong,” said Brumpton. “They capitalized on our mistakes and kept it close until the third, especially running with a short bench.”
Neither team generated much in the second period as a string of alternating penalties stifled the momentum. Todd Hoggarth and Adam New converted for the Shamrocks, while Limb and Frame answered for the Tigers.
“Special teams sucked the life out of the second period,” said Brumpton. “Neither team was able to establish a flow.”
Vernon’s offence found another gear in the final period with Sarazin (2), Limb and Frame each completing their hat tricks, and Darryl Landels pocketing a deuce. Cam Nelson replied for the Shamrocks.
Unable to attend every game due to work commitments, Brumpton credited assistant coach Keith Hanna for picking up the slack behind the bench.
“He’s got his finger on the pulse of the team right now,” said Brumpton.
The second-place Cats (9-2-1) are chasing the first-place Kelowna Raiders (10-2-1), who hosted the South Okanagan Flames (3-8-1) Thursday at Memorial Arena.
The third-place Rocks (3-7-2) visit the Flames Sunday in Penticton.
The Cats have a home-and-home weekend set with the last-place Kamloops Venom starting Saturday night (7:30) at Kal Tire Place. Vernon visits the 3-9-1 Venom Sunday night.
“Nobody’s given Kamloops any credit this year,” said Brumpton. “Like any good young team, it takes time. Kamloops always brings their game.”
Meanwhile, Conor Webb and Jakob Schweb each fired two goals and an assist as the North Okanagan Legends outgunned the Shuswap Outlaws 8-3 in Bantam A2 lacrosse play Tuesday at Priest Valley Arena.
Brady Marzocco, Niklas Luttmerding, Brett Olsen and James Francis each had singles for the Legends, who enjoyed period leads of 2-1 and 6-1.
Kayden Beauregard and Stephane Richard each dialed up an assist as North Okanagan outshot Shuswap 68-20.
Short five regulars, the Legends picked up Riley Swiscoski and Mason Poole, who both contributed to the win. Shuswap goaltender Noah Bumstead was stellar in stopping 60 shots, while assisting on two of the three goals.