It took just one game for the South Okanagan Flames lacrosse team to improve on its winless (two ties and 12 losses) season last year in the Thompson Okanagan Junior Lacrosse League.
The Flames opened the season Friday by handing the Kamloops Venom, the defending provincial champions, an 8-4 loss at Memorial Arena. The Flames then hit the road to take on the Kamloops Rattlers and edged them 10-9.
“It’s a great way to start the season off, especially against Kamloops,” said Flames coach Tony Ramsay. “To knock off the defending provincial champions was a great feeling. The kids played really, really well. I was really impressed with the effort that they put out.”
A 37-save effort by Dean Grimm in goal was followed up by another stellar performance in which he faced 50 shots by the Rattlers.
“He has a great arm. He helps with our offence,” said Ramsay on Grimm. “The guys know that once the stop has been made, they just need to break and Dean will get them the ball. We got a lot of goals that way. It keeps the defence on their heels.”
“I felt pretty good,” said Grimm. “They played really well. A lot better than last year.”
Grim said it felt good to beat the Venom because “they were acting like they were really good.”
“It makes us feel really confident,” said the Flames goalie of their win.
Offence for the Flames against the Rattlers came from Brad Deshane (a goal and three assists), Chris Pond and Quinn Ramsay with two each, Ben Whiles, Mitch Walton, Liam Neary, Derek Grimm and Jacob Hollenbeck with a goal each.
Ramsay would like to see the defence improve as he said his players were not as tight, and part of the reason was a result of players missing from the lineup. He also wasn’t a fan of the officiating.
While collecting two wins gives Ramsay reason to be happy, he feels the Flames are starting to believe in what they can do.
“It lets us have faith that we could beat the next team,” said Walton, who feels their success will draw more fans to Memorial Arena. “First couple of games I thought it was impressive how good we could do together. I’m pretty confident about how we’re going to do.”
With the Flames next game Saturday in Vernon against the Tigers then at home against the Kelowna Raiders on Monday (7:30 p.m. start), Ramsay has his team focused on basics this week. He also wants to see his players being consistent for