More than just bragging rights are on the line in Armstrong tonight.
The Vernon Iron Ghost Construction Tigers and Armstrong Shamrocks meet for the fourth and final time during the regular season of the Thompson Okanagan Junior Lacrosse League (7 p.m. start, Nor-Val Sports Centre).
It’s a huge game with playoff implications for both teams.
The three previous meetings have ended in ties: 9-9, 11-11, 9-9. The teams are tied for the fourth and final playoff spot with identical records (2-9-3). Both trail the third-place South Okanagan Flames (4-9) by one point. Armstrong and Vernon each have two games left.
The Flames and Shamrocks meet Saturday, June 25, at 7 p.m. at the Nor-Val Sports Centre while the Tigers host the Kamloops Venom (11-1) at 7 p.m. at Kal Tire Place. Kamloops has won 11 in a row. Vernon is winless in its last 11 heading into Thursday’s encounter with their arch-rivals Armstrong.
The Venom are trying to catch the Kelowna Kodiaks (12-3) for first place and have three games left as well. Each league team is supposed to play 16 games but a game May 15 between South Okanagan and Kamloops was cancelled due to a lack of qualified referees, and no make-up date has been announced.
Armstrong enters Thursday’s matchup having dropped two of its last three. The Shamrocks lost 17-3 to the visiting Venom Thursday, June 16, a make-up game from a contest postponed May 13.
The Shamrocks went to Penticton Saturday, June 18, and beat the Flames 11-9. Caden Peters led Armstrong with three goals and three assists. Teigan Evans had 3+2 while Jorge Hall and Joey Mazzei chipped in 2+2. Ethin Campbell had the other goal and Colton Macaulay made 26 saves.
The next night in Kamloops, the Venom defeated Armstrong 9-4 in a game that was shortened due to a serious injury to an unnamed player. Kaleb Davis, Hall, Campbell and Nathan Davis-Lent scored for Armstrong while Macaulay made 33 saves.
The Tigers were 0-2 on the road on the weekend.
Vernon lost 18-4 Saturday, June 17, in Kelowna. Kael Black, Nate Williamson, Noah Pearson and Jacob Brewer scored for the Tigers, while Derek Pereboom made 48 saves in goal.
The Tigers dropped a 13-4 decision the next night in Penticton. Brewer scored twice for Vernon, Pearson and Bradley Scabar added singles and Pereboom finished with 45 saves.
The Flames failed to put some distance between themselves and the fourth-place teams when they fell 7-6 Wednesday, June 22, to the league-leading Kelowna Kodiaks in Oliver.
• The Armstrong Senior Shamrocks will recognize one of its all-time greats Friday, June 24.
Former player and coach Lance McGregor will be inducted into the Okanagan Sports Hall of Fame in the first intermission of the Shamrocks’ Thompson Okanagan Senior Lacrosse League home date with the Kamloops Rattlers.
Game time is 7:30 p.m. at the Nor-Val Sports Centre.