South Okanagan Flames captain Ryan Harms was able to walk out of the dressing room with a smile, even after his team lost to the Kamloops Venom 11-8.
The defeat eliminated the Flames from qualifying for the Thompson Okanagan Junior Lacrosse League playoffs.
“I’m pretty happy and kind of sad,” said Harms. “It was the best game of the year in my opinion. We stayed right in it until the end. It sucks that we’re done.”
The Flames held an 8-7 lead going into the third period, they just couldn’t build on it as the Venom beat Flames goalie Dean Grimm with 17:13 remaining. With 8:39 left on the Memorial Arena clock, the Venom struck again for the winning tally. The Flames had chances but goalie Dallin Etter denied them. He also got help from the post where Jacob Hollenbeck fired a shot from close range.
“It wasn’t so much that their goalie was that strong, it was just that we couldn’t put the ball where he wasn’t,” said Harms.
Grimm didn’t throw any praise in his counterpart’s direction either.
“I didn’t think he was too great, but we didn’t test him too much,” said Grimm. “We didn’t have that great of shots. Feel like we should have filled the net more.”
Filling the net for the Flames was Josh Greenwood with three goals and five points despite having an injury, while Chris Pond also tallied three and added an assist. Liam Neary and Connor Walton added singles.
When asked about their patience in the offensive zone, Harms said they wanted the right shot.
“It was about the quality of the shot. It’s not how many we could take,” he said.
Working against the Flames was a roster reduced to 13 runners after losing Levi Thompson to injury in their 11-3 loss to the Armstrong Shamrocks on June 21. Gage Buchanan and Kees Mooijer were suspended for the final game. The Venom had 18 runners.
Flames coach Alex Gerk said his team “did awesome, we kept with them the whole game.”
“Just a couple things near the end there and they won it,” said Gerk, who was also impressed his players took just nine minutes in penalties. “Everyone was going with a lot of heart.”
The Flames ended their season going 3-11-2 for fifth place, while the Venom were 5-10-1, clinching the fourth and final playoff spot.