The Vernon Iron Ghost Construction Tigers picked up their biggest win of the Thompson Okanagan Junior Lacrosse League season Thursday, June 23.
And, in the process, clinched a post-season berth and pushed their arch-rivals to the brink of elimination.
The Tigers snapped an 11-game winless streak with an impressive 9-6 win over the hometown Armstrong Shamrocks at the Nor-Val Sports Centre. It was the fourth and final meeting of the season between the two clubs, and the first time there was a winner. The other three games ended in ties.
Vernon (3-9-3) moved into third place in the five-team league, one point ahead of the idle South Okanagan Flames (4-9) and two up on the Shamrocks (2-10-3).
Vernon and Armstrong each have one game remaining with the Tigers holding a tiebreaker over the Shamrocks.
Vernon will host the red-hot Kamloops Venom, winners of 11 straight, Saturday night, June 25, at Kal Tire Place, while Armstrong entertains South Okanagan in a must-win contest for the Shamrocks at Nor-Val the same night. Both games start at 7 p.m.
If Armstrong beats the Flames, they would move into the fourth and final playoff spot, one point ahead of South Okanagan, and would need the Flames to lose their final two games against the Venom in order to make the post-season.
Kamloops can still catch the Kelowna Kodiaks for first place. The Venom (11-1) have four games left while Kelowna (12-3) will close its regular season when they host Kamloops Saturday, July 9.
Vernon jumped out to a 2-0 lead Thursday on a pair of markers from Noah Pearson before the teams combined for three goals in less than six minutes to finish the opening 20 minutes tied 3-3.
The Tigers took control of the game past the midway mark of the second period when Aiden Wattie, Colten Colmorgen and Jacob Brewer scored 1:25 apart to snap the deadlock and give Vernon a 6-3 bulge.
Caden Peters pulled Armstrong to within two with a goal at 15:52 but Kael Black and Isaac Coombs, on a breakaway, scored 65 seconds apart to give the Tigers a four-goal cushion.
That lasted all of 1:18 when Ethin Campbell got a shot through the pads of Vernon goalie Derek Pereboom to make it 8-5 Vernon after 40 minutes.
The teams traded goals in the third – Colmorgen scoring a powerplay marker for the Tigers and Carson Irmen netting a shorthanded marker for the Irish.
Black, on a four-on-three powerplay, had the other Vernon tally.
Joseph Jankowski, Kaleb Davis, shorthanded, and Peters had the other Armstrong goals.
Pereboom finished with 34 saves while Ryley Lockhurst made 47 stops for the Shamrocks.
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