Chris Pond is the Thompson Okanagan Junior Lacrosse League’s lone 100-point man.
Pond reached the milestone with a nine-point effort in a 15-4 win against the Kelowna Raiders Monday at Memorial Arena. He entered his 14th game six points shy following a 10-point performance in a 17-12 win against the Kamloops Venom on June 20. Pond scored four goals and added five assists against the Raiders.
“It feels really good. I have put in a lot of work the last four years,” said Pond, who in his three previous seasons had point totals of 32, 34 and 57. “It feels a lot better to have a winning season. If I had a 100 points, but we don’t make the playoffs, you still feel good on a personal level, but this year it feels a lot better having a better supporting team.”
Entering the season, Pond had a goal of reaching 80 points and said it feels good accomplishing it.
“Not a lot of guys do it. I think there was one guy last year, maybe one every other year,” said Pond. “It’s a very rare thing getting 100.”
Last year, Brady Jorgenson of the Vernon Tigers finished with 66 goals and 103 points and in 2013, Brendan Urban of the Kelowna Raiders finished with 61 goals and 106 points. Pond still has two games remaining to add to his 103 points.
The Flames assistant captain gives a lot of credit to his teammates.
“They score most of the goals. I just give them the ball,” he said.
A beneficiary of his passes are Mitch Brodt, who scored seven goals Monday, including five in the third period.
“He’s quite the player out there,” said Brodt, adding that what Pond did is special.
Brodt said Pond loves to move the ball, to which Pond, walking by in the dressing room hallway said, “I love giving you the ball.”
Flames captain Kaid MacLeod said “it’s pretty amazing” what Pond did, but he had no doubt his teammate could pull it off.
“It’s his final year in the league. It’s a great feat,” said MacLeod. “He worked hard for it, he deserves it. He is going to lead us into the playoffs. He’s in really good shape. He was just really determined coming into the season from the first practice.”
Some of the things MacLeod said Pond brings to the team is great leadership and using his six-foot-two frame to his advantage.
“He’s super fast. He sees the floor really well, he moves the ball really well,” said MacLeod. “That’s a big part of the reason our offence has been so good this year.”
The only thing Pond has done differently this season compared to others is played less lacrosse. Until this fall, Pond attended Simon Fraser University for two years. While there he played for the Clan. This year he worked hard in the winter to get in the best shape possible and now he feels quicker.
Pond’s vision, speed and physical play helped the Flames pick apart the Raiders. With a 7-2 lead after two periods, he helped the offence burn goalie Gord Bowes for eight goals. Against the Venom on the weekend, Connor Walton was lethal offensively, scoring nine goals and MacLeod netted a hat-trick. Along with scoring two goals, Pond set up eight.
The Flames have reeled off five straight wins and improved to nine wins and five losses. In two of their last three games, the Flames have allowed five goals or less.
“The defence the last three or four games has really improved,” said Pond. “I don’t know what it was. Everyone has pitched in a lot more. It’s beautiful to see.”
The Flames finish the regular season in Kelowna on Thursday then face the league-leading Tigers at Kal Tire Place Saturday.
The Flames will host their home playoff games at Kelowna’s Memorial Arena since their regular home will no longer be available with ice being put in. The first game is scheduled for July 7 at 7:30 p.m. and July 11 at 2 p.m. The Flames will face either the Venom or Armstrong Shamrocks.