The Highway 97A rivalry got dusted off as the Thompson Okanagan Junior Lacrosse League playoffs began Tuesday night at Kal Tire Place.
The second-ranked Vernon Source for Sports Tigers battled the third-seeded Armstrong Shamrocks (6-10) in Game 1 of the best-of-five semifinal.
Game two is Thursday at 7:30 p.m. at Armstrong’s Nor-Val Sports Centre.
“It is always fun playing our main rivals. I think the short travel will be beneficial for us,” said Tigers’ coach Keith Hanna.
The Tigers (13-1-2) went 4-0 against the Irish this season and outscored them by 24 goals in their regular season tilts.
“We would have liked to play Kamloops in the first round,” said Shamrocks’ coach Brett Logan. “With Vernon hosting provincials all we needed to do was get past Kamloops and we would have got in. No big deal though, we have something to prove now.”
The Tigers enter the postseason with a nine-game unbeaten streak and are looking to keep things the same in the second season.
“We need to come out and play our game and be willing to work hard,” said Hanna.
The Tigers finished the season with a 7-7 draw against the Kamloops Venom Saturday night at Kal Tire Place.
Vernon needed to win by three or more goals to finish ahead of first-place Kamloops.
“We played a great game, it was a good last game before playoffs,” said Hanna.
Prior to Saturday’s opening faceoff, there was a moment of silence in memory of Miles Wohlford, the 14-year-old boy who died Friday night. His Bantam A Legends lacrosse team was on hand to honour him as well, and the Tigers hung Wohlford’s No. 6 jersey at their bench.
Both teams had already clinched home floor in the first round, but still entertained the 200 fans with a highpaced, hard-hitting affair.
Quintin Harrish led Vernon with two goals. Darrell Landels, Jay Seaton, Ryan Sarazin, Brett Hanna and Braden Barr added singles.
The Tigers contained the league’s leading scorer, Brady Jorgensen, to a hat trick. Avalanches have been easier to stop than Jorgensen this season. The Venom sniper recorded 66 goals and 103 points in 16 games.
Kamloops takes on the South Okanagan Flames in the other best-of-five league semi.