Overtime. Ambulance. Missed penalty shot in last minute. Powerplay goals. Shorthanded goals. Combined 34 goals. Combined 135 shots. Game ejections.
The Thompson Okanagan Junior Lacrosse League game Saturday in Vernon between the Tigers and South Okanagan Flames ended in a 17-17 draw, and had a little of everything.
Let’s fast-forward to the third period, with the game tied 13-13 and exactly eight minutes remaining. South Okanagan’s Keegan Allen takes a five-minute boarding penalty and game misconduct to give the Tigers – who had already scored five powerplay goals up to this point – the man advantage.
Only this time, it’s the Flames’ penalty kill which proves to be lethal.
Substitute goalie Connor Rampage, who entered the game early in the final frame, threw a length-of-the-floor pass to a wide-open Alex Nimmo, who beat Vernon goalie Derek Pereboom at 14:31 to give South OK a 14-13 edge. Just 35 seconds later, and still down a man, Nimmo outraced a Vernon defender and again beat Pereboom to give the Flames a two-goal cushion with 5:29 remaining.
Kaden Doughty got Vernon back to within a goal at 18:05, and added his fourth of the game 31 seconds later – on another Tigers powerplay – to even the game at 15-15.
With 23 seconds left in regulation time, the Flames were whistled for too many men on the floor, meaning an automatic penalty shot. Doughty went in alone on Ramage and the Flames goalie made an arm save to keep the game knotted. It would be Ramage’s second-to-last save of the game.
At 19:50, Vernon’s Jacob Brewer got around two defenders and moved in on Ramage. He got a shot away and then bowled into the South OK goalie, resulting in a skirmish and Ramage laying on the ground, not moving.
Ramage was attended to by training staff from both teams, and by first responders from Vernon Fire Rescue Services, before an ambulance arrived to take the injured goalie to Vernon Jubilee Hospital.
Flames’ coaches said afterward Ramage was taken to hospital for precaution, complaining of severe pain in the neck region. The coaches said he was moving all extremities and was alert when removed on a stretcher.
After a half-hour delay, the Flames had the ball and 10 seconds left to get a winner, but could not beat Pereboom, resulting in a 10-minute, non-sudden-death overtime period.
The Tigers got goals from Liam Cyr and Stephane Richard to take a 17-15 lead. The Flames, though, never gave up. Ethan Konno scored 28 seconds after Richard, and Nimmo would add his third shorthanded marker with captain Jake MacLeod ejected for arguing a slashing penalty at 5:42 to even the match.
The biggest lead either team had was three goals – Vernon 10 South Okanagan 7 – in the middle frame. It was 6-5 Flames after one period, and 11-11 heading into the third.
South Okanagan lost Carson Shortreed and Aiden Danby to game ejections in the second period. The Flames also had three goals disallowed in the opening 20 minutes for crease violations.
Doughty led all scorers on the night with what’s believed to be a team record 12 points on four goals and eight helpers. Jake Pelletier had seven points (1+6) for Vernon, Richard finished with four goals, including a natural hat trick over the second and third periods. Thomas Mackiewich (3+2) and Caden Colmorgen (2+3) each had five points. Jacob Brewer and Kael Black also scored for the Tigers.
Nimmo led South Okanagan with 5+3. MacLeod had 4+1 before his ejections and Konno pocketed 3+1. Chace Moog had a goal and four assists while single markers went to Danby, Cairo Rogers, Shortreed and Allen.
Ramage and starter Shaun Agostinho combined to make 52 saves on 69 Vernon shots. Pereboom made 49 saves for Vernon.
The defending champion Tigers (1-4-1) are winless in three while the Flames improve to 1-2-1. The two teams meet again May 27 in Penticton.