After tying the series with Kamloops, it’s do or die for the South Okanagan Flames lacrosse team.
The Kamloops Venom tied up the first-round playoff series against the Flames 2-2 with a 14-8 win Monday night in Kamloops.
“We were short benched unfortunately,” said head coach Kevin Thompson. “Had a few key injuries, which everybody has to deal with.”
The Flames were left with 12 runners against a full Venom bench, which actually had to kick one player out of the game pushing the maximum amount of players past 20. The Venom squad also featured some players who returned after fulfilling team commitments on the coast.
“They’re good players, they’ve played some pretty high-end lacrosse down on the coast and they brought them back,” Thompson said. “It’s tough to handle when it’s 12 runners.”
The Flames took a tough loss in the first game of the series, but bounced back to win the second. A tight, 12-10 win on the weekend set the Flames up with a chance to win the series Monday night, but the Venom got the better of them.
“We’ve got great quality players as well, just a short bench. Our guys are in good shape and they’re going to be tired tonight, but they know it’s on the line, Game 5, do or die,” Thompson said.
Thompson said he feels his net minder Dean Grimm “is one of the best goalies in the league” and that forward Chris Pond is a “hands-down shoe in to win MVP of the league.”
Pond grabbed over 100 points in league play this year. Thompson also noted captain Kade MacLeod, his 16-year-old younger brother Jake, as well as the entire defensive squad have contributed to the team’s success this year. There is one other player who Thompson finds tough to give a nod.
“It’s always hard for a coach to praise his son too much, which is unfortunate, but my boy Tanner Thompson, nobody scores around him,” Thompson said.
The best-of-five series came down to one game Tuesday night in Kamloops, with the winner heading to face Vernon, who knocked out Armstrong with three straight wins, in the final. The championship series starts Friday in Vernon.