A final Thompson Okanagan Junior Lacrosse League playoff berth is on the line for the South Okanagan Flames.
With two games remaining this weekend against the Armstrong Shamrocks and Kamloops Venom, Flames runner Chris Pond said they don’t feel pressure.
The Flames (3-9-2) are in Armstrong (3-7-3) on Friday. They host the Venom (4-10-1) at Memorial Arena Sunday at 5 p.m. Pond said he feels they can do what’s needed to make the playoffs.
“I think we have the ability to do it, we just have to go out and play,” he said.
A shortened roster for road games continues to be a problem for the team. It’s a mystery to Pond, who has 10 goals and 28 points in eight games.
“We just kind of make fun of guys that don’t show up,” said Pond, a midfielder with the Simon Fraser University Clan lacrosse team.
What he does know is they have the skill to score. In the five-team league, the Flames have the third best offence with 128 goals for. Kaid McLeod is their leading goal scorer with 25 goals in 12 games, followed by Josh Greenwood with 19 in 12 games and Connor Walton with 14 in 11 games. McLeod’s confident about winning Friday then added that Sunday “should be a good game.”
Between the Venom and Shamrocks, Pond said the Venom is the stronger team.
“I think they have a lot more confidence,” he said, as the Venom are coming off a 15-8 win over second place Vernon.
Flames coach Alex Gerk has confidence in his group. Against the Shamrocks, they are 1-1-1.
“If we beat Armstrong that will put us ahead of them,” said Gerk, hoping for at least a tie against the Venom. “If we get a tie with them, we will probably be in the playoffs.”
Against the Shamrocks, Gerk wants to see his players be on top of loose balls and be strong defensively. They had some lapses lately.
In their last game against the Shamrocks on June 16, the teams settled for a 13-13 tie. The Flames had leads after the first and second periods. The Shamrocks scored twice quickly in the third. The Flames tied it at 13 with 90 seconds to play.
McLeod finished with three goals and five points, Levi Thompson scored three, while Pond and Greenwood each scored twice. Goalie Dean Grimm finished with four assists.
Of Flames’ three wins, two have come at home. The first was against the Venom, 13-11 on May 12.
After playing the Flames on Friday, the Shamrocks play Vernon on Saturday and close the season against the Kelowna Raiders on June 27. Kelowna is in first place.