The Vernon Re/Max Tigers will head into their Saturday night showdown at Wesbild Centre against the first-place Kamloops Venom brimming with confidence.
The Cats racked up their fifth consecutive win, improving to 7-5-1 overall, by clipping the Kelowna Raiders 11-10 Wednesday night at Wesbild.
They end the Thompson Okanagan Junior Lacrosse League regular season with a Sunday matinee against the South Okanagan Flames in Penticton.
“Right now, the boys have found their swagger and they are playing with confidence and determination,” said Vernon head coach Myles Brumpton. “The team is having fun and our results are proof of that.”
The Cats raced out to a first-period lead on a pair of goals by Nolan Frame, and singles by Ryan Landels, Craig Bigsby, Ethan Anderson and Mike Quarin.
Andrew McMillan (2), Dillon MacLennon and Iain Hart answered for the Raiders (4-9-1).
“Other than a few breakdowns, from a systems perspective, the team put forth a consistent effort and were very composed and focused for the entire 60 minutes of play,” said Brumpton.
“We transitioned the ball well as our d-men tallied assists on 50 per cent of our goals, which is impressive considering we had four powerplay markers.”
The Raiders crept to within a goal in the second period on singles by McMillan, Jaman Heslop and Brendan Urban, with Landels and Ryan Sarazin countering for Vernon.
The teams fired three goals apiece in the final frame; Landels, Anderson and Liam Drabiuk for the Cats, and Ryan Phillips, Scott Renner and Jordan Laverock for the Venom.
The second-place Tigers don’t know who their first-round opponent will be when the postseason beings July 4. The third-place Raiders and fourth-place Armstrong Shamrocks (4-5-2) battled for third place Thursday night in Kelowna.
“With only two games remaining, our goal is to remain focused and carry forward the confidence, determination and overall play that has boosted us into second place,” said Brumpton.
Meanwhile, in Senior C men’s lacrosse action, Junior Tiger grad Steve Clark collected four goals as the Armstrong Shamrocks shaded the host Kamloops Rattlers 11-9 Tuesday night at Memorial Arena.
The Shamrocks, now 5-5, earned a 6-2 first-period lead, pushing that to 9-3 after 40 minutes. Kamloops, who dipped to 6-4, stormed back with six goals in the final frame.
Junior call-up Nathan Marcetta added to the Irish attack with a goal in each period, with other offence coming from Jamie Cockrill (2), Dan Giger and Brent Anderson.
Natham Woldum, Mark Jurista and AJ Lockwood each had a pair for the Rattlers, singles going to Travis Joseph, Lee Black and JJ Woldum.
Chad Pieper backstopped Armstrong with a 50-save showing, and added an assist. Eric Thompson made 18 stops in the loss.
Armstrong hosts the 8-2 Kelowna Raiders Friday night, while the 1-9 Senior Tigers, fresh off their first win of the season, are in Kamloops to face the Rattlers.