There will be no room for error when the Vernon Re/Max Tigers host the Kamloops Venom in Game 4 of the Thompson Okanagan Junior Lacrosse League finals tonight (7:30) at Wesbild Centre.
The Cats burned their final Get Out of Jail Free card in Monday night’s dismal 17-8 loss to the host Venom in Game 3 at Memorial Arena.
A win tonight would push the best-of-five series back to Kamloops Friday night. A loss equals season over.
“None of us are panicking right now,” said Vernon head coach Myles Brumpton. “As far as I’m concerned, the pressure’s all on them.
“We told the boys to wash this one away and we’ve still got another crack at it. That’s the beauty of a five-game series. We’ve got some great leaders and some real character on this team. I don’t see these guys laying down.”
Trailing 5-4 heading into the second period, Vernon buried three unanswered goals to take a 7-5 lead midway through the frame. However, things seriously unravelled for the visitors as Kamloops went on a nine-goal run to all but seal the win before the break. After that, it was all about damage control for Vernon.
“All four aspects of our game – between goaltending, offence, defence and transition – went to sleep, and everything they shot went in,” said Brumpton.
“If we would have had one more goal (earlier in the second period), we would have put their crowd to sleep. It was a quiet building after our third goal.
“They got a lucky bounce off one of our player’s sticks that deflected in and that just seemed to give them momentum. It was one goal after the other. Guys that don’t normally score were scoring highlight-reel goals.”
Craig Bigsby, with a pair, Jay Seaton, with a great shorthanded effort, and Mike Quarin handled Vernon’s offence in the first period. Quarin, Nolan Frame and Landels tallied for the Cats in the middle frame, and Jordan Orr scored once in the final period.
The Venom got goals from nine different players, led by Jerome Thorne’s 4+3 performance. Captain Riley Donahue added 2+2.
Vernon netminder Tyler Landry returned to the crease Monday night after playing last weekend with the Thompson-Okanagan Zone 2 team at the B.C. Summer Games in Surrey. The Venom’s second-period scoring spree resulted in Josh Point taking over, and finishing the game.
The series winner advances to Junior B provincials, Aug. 3-5 at Bear Mountain Arena in Juan de Fuca.