Flames end lacrosse regular season with rare win in Vernon

The Penticton Flames got the better of the Vernon Tigers in a Thompson Okanagan Junior Lacrosse League rematch

The South Okanagan Flames lacrosse team earned a big win in Vernon Wednesday.

The South Okanagan Flames lacrosse team earned a big win in Vernon Wednesday.

Roger Knox

Black Press

Kaid Macleod doesn’t remember.

Neither does coach Kevin Thompson.

League archives show no seasonal results but suffice to say, it’s been awhile – a long while – since the South Okanagan Flames beat the Vernon Sun Valley Source For Sports Tigers in the Thompson Okanagan Junior Lacrosse League.

All that changed Wednesday at Kal Tire Place as the Flames whipped the Tigers 15-7 in South Okanagan’s final regular season game. The loss snapped Vernon’s 11-game winning, and 12-game unbeaten streak.

Macleod has been with the team five seasons, Thompson has been behind the bench for three and trainer and 2015 league MVP Chris Pond – who had his number retired by the Flames at the start of the season – played six years for the club. None of them remember a win over the Tigers.

It’s a big win going into playoffs. A good momentum builder. Obviously they’re a great team and it feels good to beat them. They’re a strong team, have probably the best team defence in the league, well-coached and well-disciplined,” said Macleod, who torched the Tigers for 10 points on four goals and six assists. He had nine points (4+5) in South Okanagan’s 12-11 loss to the Tigers Saturday in Vernon.

The Flames, who trailed Saturday’s game 6-3 after 20 minutes, outscored the Tigers 21-13 over the final five periods of the back-to-back contests in Vernon.

South Okanagan jumped out to a 4-1 lead Wednesday after 20 minutes and increased the advantage to 10 goals, outscoring Vernon 9-2 in the middle frame for a 13-3 lead.

The Tigers scored four goals in the first five minutes of the third to pull to within six.

The Flames scored four powerplay goals and three shorthanded markers.

Brad Stel – a former minor and junior goalie turned defender – donned the goaltending gear again for the Flames and earned second star status behind Macleod as he made 52 saves. The Tigers also hit eight posts behind Stel.

Starting goalie Charles Nicholas and Midget call-up Connor Ramage – who both played in Saturday’s loss – did not make the trip to Vernon.

Darnell Hauca started in goal for Vernon but was replaced by Jeremy Gray after the 12th Flames goal at 17:41 of the second period.

Quintin Harrish had three goals for the Tigers, who missed a chance to clinch first place Wednesday. Steele Pelletier scored twice and singles went to Sean Connors and Conor Webb.

The Flames – who finished at 10-5-1, best record in team history – moved into second place, one point ahead of Kamloops. The Venom, however, have two games left against the Armstrong Shamrocks Sunday and the Tigers.

Vernon (11-2-1) hosts the Kelowna Raiders (2-11-1) Sunday at 7:30 p.m. at Kal Tire Place. The Tigers can again clinch first with a win Sunday or in their final home game Wednesday against the Venom.

The Shamrocks and Raiders played to a 6-6 tie Wednesday at the Nor-Val Sports Centre in the Irish’s final home game.

Mykl Drabiuk’s late goal gave the Shamrocks the single point and kept their playoff hopes alive.

Kelowna maintains a two-point lead on the Shamrocks (1-12-1) for the final playoff spot and the two teams will meet in the final game of the season Thursday in Kelowna.